Drink Up, Coffee Addicts: According to New Study, 3 Cups a Day May Lower Your Risk of Death

Photograph by jacoblund via iStock.

We all knew that coffee was the magic potion of life, but a pair of studies, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicineactually prove it.

While you may just love coffee for the flavor and buzz, according to both studies, coffee drinkers actually face a lowered risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. One of the studies focused on the coffee consumption and mortality in European populations, while the second study focused on coffee consumption among non-white populations. Both studies resulted in similar conclusions: drinking coffee can lead to a lowered mortality rate.

The European populations study was focused on whether coffee can still be associated with health benefits among Europeans, even though Europeans have a wide variety of preparation methods for their coffee. The study started with 520,000 people from ten European countries and followed up over the course of 16 years. At the end of the study period, 41,000 had died, and after taking different factors into account (such as smoking and obesity), the study authors found that the coffee drinkers had a lower risk of all-cause death than the non-coffee-drinker participants. More specifically, the study found that the coffee drinkers had a lowered risk of dying of digestive diseases and circulatory disease.

While researchers are hesitant to say that everyone should start downing Starbucks, stat, they are willing to conclude that coffee is safe to drink, and could potentially be beneficial.

“Our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking (up to ~three cups/day) is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could actually have health benefits,” says study author Marc Gunter. 

The second study looked at coffee consumption among 180,000 non-white participants over the course of about 16 years. While like the first study, this study found that the coffee drinkers had a lowered risk of death, it also found that drinking more than just a cup a day was associated with higher benefits. According to this study, those who drank coffee had a 12 percent lowered risk of death—but those who drank two to three cups a day saw an 18 percent lowered risk of death.

“In summary, higher coffee consumption was associated with lower risk for all-cause death and death from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease,” reads the study.

Though the study authors aren’t able to say that this association between coffee consumption and lowered risk of death means that drinking more coffee will help you live longer, the results are certainly encouraging if you down multiple cups a day.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” said study author Veronica Wendy Setiawan, in a press release. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.