A new study provides more evidence that drinking coffee is good for the health. Researchers from Harvard University's school of public health have found that people who drink moderate amounts of coffee have lesser odds of dying early from a range of causes.
The study, which was published in the journal Circulation on Nov. 16, looked at the data collected from three studies involving 93,000 women and 45,000 men who reported how frequently they consume certain foods and coffee.
The researchers found that regular consumption of coffee was linked to lower risks for death from type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, neurological diseases and even suicide over a 30-year period.
Study author Walter Willet said their study showed that people who drink three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day had around 15 percent reduced risks for premature death compared to those who do not drink coffee. The researchers likewise found that even decaf coffee can help.
"Regular consumption of coffee was inversely associated with risk of total mortality and mortality due to CVD, and neurological disease," the researchers wrote in their study. "Similar associations of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption with risk of total and cause-specific mortality were found.
Study researcher Frank Hu said that caffeine did not appear to be responsible for the beneficial effects of coffee linked to diabetes and heart diseases. Other components found in the popular drink such as the mineral magnesium, antioxidants and other chemical compounds may actually be responsible as they may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the body's chronic inflammation.
"The chlorogenic acid, lignans, quinides, trigonelline, and magnesium in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," said Hu and colleagues.
Caffeine may play a role in preventing deaths caused by neurological diseases and suicide albeit the study did not have sufficient data to show such effect. Hu also noted that coffee may have antidepressant effect.
While moderate consumption of coffee was tied to lower chance of dying during the study period compared with not drinking coffee, the researchers found that consuming too much coffee, or more than five cups of regular or decaf daily, did not influence mortality rates nor provide more health benefits.
Coffee drinkers were also advised to be cautious about what they put in their coffee. While milk is fine, too much sugar and heavy cream may not be a good idea.