Research based on 200 previous global studies indicates that frequent coffee drinkers are less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and even some cancers. Those who drink three to four cups a day will, in fact, experience health benefits—and experience lower risks of premature death.
To better understand the effects of coffee on health, Robin Poole—a public health specialist at Britain’s University of Southampton—led a research team in an ‘umbrella review’ of 201 studies based on observational research, and 17 studies based on clinical trials across the world. ‘Umbrella reviews’ consolidate previous analyses, in order to deliver a clearer summary of diverse research on a particular topic.
The research, published in the The BMJ, revealed that drinking coffee was consistently linked with a lower risk of death from all causes, including heart disease. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death was seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers. Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type-2 diabetes, gallstones and gout. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver.
“What we can say is that people who already enjoy moderate amounts of coffee as part of their diet are most probably getting health benefits,” writes Poole. These findings should be reassuring for coffee drinkers; future studies will likely analyze the types and amounts of coffee that confer the maximum health benefits.