People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day can significantly reduce their risk of early death, according to a new research.

Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee

A review of more than 200 previous studies found that coffee is more beneficial than harmful to health, and even heavy coffee drinkers are safe.

The study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton and published on Nov. 22 in The BMJ found that three to four cups of coffee every day is the optimum number, which was linked to a 17 percent decreased chance of death in comparison to non-coffee drinkers. Even those who had up to seven cups of coffee enjoyed a 10 percent reduced chance of death.

The study suggested that drinking coffee is related to a lower risk of specific cancers including those of the liver, skin, endometrial, and prostate. The findings also indicated that the consumption of coffee had beneficial associations with Alzheimer's disease, depression, Parkinson's disease,  gout, gallstones, diabetes, and certain liver conditions. 

They added that the harmful associations related to coffee were mostly nullified when other criteria, such as smoking, were taken into account.

Should You Consume The Caffeinated Drink To Prevent Disease?

Though there are many benefits associated with coffee consumption, one should not start drinking coffee to prevent diseases or for health reasons, according to the reviewers.

For instance, the health benefits of drinking coffee were not observed in pregnant women. Coffee intake during pregnancy is, in fact, linked to pregnancy loss, preterm birth, and lower birth rates, so pregnant women should steer clear of coffee, irrespective of its benefits to the health.

The researchers also said that the amount of coffee consumed plays an important role in how beneficial it can be for the health. While drinking three to five cups of the caffeinated drink was observed to be associated with the lowest risk of disease, a higher intake of coffee could reverse or reduce the potential benefit.

The research team also added that coffee drinkers should stick to healthy coffees, which avoid extra cream or milk, sugar, or a fatty snack on the side as they may independently contribute to adverse health outcomes.

Word Of Caution

The research team said that most of the evidence backing the research has come from observational studies, which can only find probable associations but can't prove cause and effect.

The researchers, therefore, added that they cannot extrapolate their findings to suggest people start drinking coffee or increase their intake in attempts to become healthier. They also suggested that people who already enjoy moderate amounts of coffee as part of their diet are most probably getting health benefits from it rather than harm.

The researchers carried out an umbrella review, which combined previous meta-analyses and gave a high-level summary of research findings, to get important information about coffee drinking and health and to know if it had any recognized harm.

To overcome the limitations, the researchers now plan to carry out a randomized controlled trial in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to study if caffeine works as a treatment to lower the chances of the disease progressing.

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