Coffee health benefits: Drinking THIS much could protect you from killer illnesses

Drink up Three cups of coffee a day 'may have health benefits'

Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gallstones, renal stones and gout.

Those who drink three or four cups of coffee every day could significantly reduce the chances of early death, a study suggests.

Experts said people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons or to prevent disease.

Pregnant women, for example, are at greater risk of losing their baby if they drink too much coffee, and the caffeine also slightly raises the risk of bone fractures among women.

A team led by Dr Robin Poole, specialist registrar in public health at the University of Southampton, with collaboration from the University of Edinburgh, carried out an umbrella review of 201 studies. Scientists say because the study was based on mainly observational data, no firm conclusions could be drawn about cause and effect.

People consuming three cups of coffee a day were seen to have a reduction in premature death in comparison to the people who do not take coffee. A high coffee intake was linked with an 18 percent decrease in cancer risk, compared with a low intake.

"Is coffee good for you?"

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At present, the researchers said pinning down exactly how coffee might have a positive impact on health was "difficult". And - get this - the optimum amount is three or four cups a day. More studies would be needed to determine causation and not just correlation. In the past, the caffeinated drink has been linked to a lower risk of endometrial, skin, prostate, and liver cancers.

The drink is more likely to ward off disease than to cause harm, according to the most comprehensive report yet conducted.

While overall it may be beneficial, some people may be at higher risk of adverse effects, he said, and there is "substantial uncertainty" about the effects of higher levels of intake.

But even if there's still a lot we don't know about the link between coffee and our health, this new study offers a wide array of other avenues to explore.

As the paper points to health benefits "associated" with coffee consumption, but not proved to be causal, researchers believe further studies would be beneficial.

But he added: "Moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population".

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