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In a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers have found that people who drink three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from a range of causes.
Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee were found to have a lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease), Type 2 diabetes and suicide. (There was no effect on cancer deaths.)
Researchers are still trying to figure out why coffee is linked with longevity. Caffeine is clearly not the star ingredient, since decaf coffee offers the same benefits as caffeinated. Instead, expect to hear more about coffee’s antioxidants and other compounds, which are believed to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, two factors researchers are eyeing as culprits in a number of conditions.
More coffee benefits
Previous research has linked coffee drinking to a lower risk of not only the diseases mentioned above, but also liver cancer, colon cancer, asthma and Alzheimer’s. Though, in most coffee studies, smokers derive no benefit from their coffee habits and it has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
Coffee has also been found to improve athletic endurance when running or working out, which might mean getting more health benefits from exercise. And drinking black coffee has been associated with weight loss.
But researchers aren’t suggesting we all start guzzling java all the time. Despite the benefits, coffee can have a downside, namely if its caffeine impairs sleep. Consider limiting caffeinated coffee to the morning hours or only sipping a cup when you really need a boost, not throughout the day.
Learn more about the health benefits of drinking coffee.