SOUTHAMPTON, England — If you’ve ever worried about how your morning cup of coffee affects your health, you can take solace in the fact that the good outweighs the bad, a new study finds.
In fact, enjoying a few cups each day may just prolong your life.
Researchers at the University of Southampton in England reviewed 218 previous studies, most of which contained observational research, to help determine the outcomes that coffee consumption has on well-being.
The findings should excite any coffee lover: three to four cups of steaming java a day can not only help one reduce their likelihood of dying or suffering from heart disease, they found, but it may also lower their risk of getting diabetes, liver disease, dementia, and certain cancers.
There was also evidence that coffee drinkers could ward off depression and other types of mental illness with their favorite beverage.
For all of these potential benefits, however, there are greater risks to women who are either pregnant or susceptible to bone fracture, the researchers warned.
Assuming you don’t fall into either group, there are still a few important considerations to make— other than price — before buying the fanciest Keurig machine.
First of all, keep in mind that these findings mostly apply to caffeinated coffee.
Secondly, about three cups a day is the optimal amount of consumption — too much more, and returns begin to diminish drastically, although one shouldn’t expect to experience adverse outcomes.
In addition, it’s best practice to enjoy your cup of Joe black and unsweetened, an assumption that the researchers made when examining the beverage’s health ramifications.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that correlation is not causation (i.e., there could be other qualities or behaviors that heavy coffee drinkers have, leading to improved health).
All in all, “moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population,” concludes researcher Eliseo Guallar.
The study’s findings were published last week in The BMJ.