Coffee lovers have been given another reason to have another cup with two new international research studies finding the world’s most popular beverage may well prolong life.
But the latest research bodes better for men than women with one study of more than half a million people across 10 European countries finding men who consumed at least three cups a day were 18 per cent less likely to die from any cause than non-coffee drinkers.
Women, on the other hand, drinking the same amount benefited less but still experienced an 8 per cent reduction in mortality.
US scientists turned up the same result from their study of 185,855 people from different ethnic backgrounds. They found irrespective of ethnicity people who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had an 18 per cent reduced risk of death.
Both of the studies, both published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, showed no advantage from drinking either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. Experts believe the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee rather than caffeine are responsible for the life-extending effect.
Previous research has suggested that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and some cancers.
Dr Marc Gunter, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who led the European study 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.”
Gunter’s team examined data from 521,330 participants in the study. The investigation spanned 10 European countries including the UK, France, Denmark and Italy.
The Danes drank the most coffee by volume – 900 millilitres per person per day – and the Italians the least.
After 16 years almost 42,000 people taking part in the study had died from a range of causes including cancer, circulatory disease, heart failure and stroke.
Compared with non-coffee drinkers, men in the top 25 per cent of consumers were 12 per cent less likely to die. Women in the same category had a 7 per cent lower chance of death.
In terms of numbers of cups of coffee consumed, men and women who drank three or more cups had an 18 per cent and 7 per cent reduced risk of death respectively.
The US study looked at death rates over 16 years and focused on ethnicity because lifestyle habits and disease risk varies greatly among people from different races and cultures.
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.”
“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention.”