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Drinking three cups of coffee a day could help you live longer, two major scientific studies have shown.
Men who downed at least three cups of coffee a day were 18 per cent less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers.
Women drinking the same amount benefited less but saw an eight per cent drop in risk of death.
More than 680,000 people across the globe were studied by scientists in the two pieces of research.
Irrespective of ethnicity, people who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had an 18 per cent reduced risk of death.
In the past the results linking coffee to life expectancy have varied, although many have extolled the health benefits of the coffee bean.
Experts believe the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee – rather than the caffeine – are responsible for the life-extending effect.
Interestingly each of the latest studies, both published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, showed no advantage from drinking either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Previous research has suggested that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and some cancers. Earlier this year researchers found coffee could be a more effective pain-relief than ibuprofen or morphine.
Dr Marc Gunter, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who led the European study with colleagues from Imperial College London, said: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.
“Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”
The US researchers also looked at death rates over a period of 16 years. A quarter of participants drank two to three cups of coffee per day and seven per cent consumed four or more cups.
People who drank one cup of coffee daily were 12 per cent less likely to die than those who drank no coffee, the results showed. Drinking two to three cups of coffee reduced the chances of death by 18 per cent.
Lead author Dr Veronica Setiawan, from the University of Southern California, said: “We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association. If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”
She added: “Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention.
“Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect’, it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”
Brits consume around 55 million cups of coffee per day, according to the British Coffee Association.
Additional reporting by Press Association.
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