Red cups or no red cups--and truth to tell, I'm a Dunks guy, anyway--you have to  welcome this news. Bottom line, if you have a second cup this morning--even a third, fourth, or fifth--you might live longer.

A giant new study, reported in the New York Times, found that people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day had a 15 percent lower risk of dying young from heart disease and several other medical conditions. Specifically, they had a "reduced risk of death from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide, although not from cancer."

Now, the caveat here is that it's hard to know whether drinking coffee actually caused the reduced risk, or if it just so happens that people who already have a reduced incidence of early death happened to drink a lot of coffee, according to Dr. Ming Ding, of the Harvard School of Public Health, who was the lead author of the study in the medical journal, Circulation.

Still, this was no tiny study done on a dozen college student volunteers in a lab. It was huge.

As the Times reported, "researchers followed more than 200,000 doctors and nurses for up to 30 years. The participants had periodic physical examinations and completed questionnaires on diet and behavior, including their coffee habits." 

Even better, if you're trying to justify your coffee addiction, the more coffee people drank for the most part, the less likely they were to die. Those who reported they drank a cup of coffee a day had a 6 percent lower incidence of death than those who didn't drink coffee at all, and those who drank between one and three cups dropped their risk by 8 percent. 

Knocking back three to five cups in a day produced a 15 percent reduced risk of death, although oddly if people drank more than five cups, they reduced their risk by only 12 percent. 

Things that didn't affect the results? Whether people reported drinking caffeinated or decaf, whether the were overweight, drank too much, were old or young, or most other factors. Smokers however, saw no benefit.