A pair of large, landmark studies published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that drinking around three to five cups of coffee per day can be part of a healthy diet and that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death, particularly from circulatory and digestive tract diseases.
That's not to say that coffee drinking can make you immortal, at least not yet. Death eventually gets coffee drinkers too, but there appears to be an association between regular cups of joe and delaying that meeting with the creepy dude holding a scythe.
"We found that drinking more coffee was associated with a more favorable liver function profile and immune response," explained Dr. Marc Gunter of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and formerly of Imperial College London.
Gunter is lead author of one of the studies, which involved data from over half a million people across ten European countries and 16 years of follow-up research. The study was the largest of its kind yet.
The second new study from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California found that the health benefits of coffee was found in both white and non-white populations, which can have different lifestyles and health risks. Interestingly, it also found both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to provide the same health benefits.
To be clear, these studies are pointing out a correlation between people who drink coffee that shows they seem to live longer and avoid certain diseases more often than non-coffee drinkers in the same study cohort. It can't be said for sure that coffee made them live longer, but there's a clear association in the data between a java habit and avoiding death a little longer.
"Due to the limitations of observational research, we are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee. That said, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking... is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits."