Forget what you’ve been told – drinking two cups of coffee every day may not harm your health.
In fact, scientists now recommend it.
After all, studies have shown that coffee drinkers tend to live longer and have healthier hearts than their peers who don’t drink a daily cup of joe.
Experts say the benefits of coffee apply to all types of coffee, meaning it’s not just decaffeinated drinkers who benefit from its purported effects.
Australian researchers behind the study say their findings show that moderate coffee consumption can be considered “part of a healthy diet”.
Two to three coffees – the recommended amount – is about what the average Briton and American drink.
Drinking two to three cups a day – in line with the amount the average Briton and American drink – is linked to longer life and a lower risk of heart problems, Australian researchers say.
HOW MUCH COFFEE TO DRINK?
The NHS states that coffee can be drunk as part of a balanced diet.
In addition to caffeine, the drink contains many minerals and antioxidants.
Some studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
However, other studies have shown that it may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
The NHS warns that drinking more than four cups a day can raise blood pressure.
He advises switching to other non-caffeinated beverages.
Researchers at the Baker Institute of Heart and Diabetes Research in Melbourne said little is known about how each type of coffee affects heart health and survival.
To get to the bottom of this, they looked at data on 449,563 people included in the UK Biobank.
The huge database contains the medical records of half a million Britons, who are regularly interviewed about their lifestyles.
Participants aged 40 to 69 filled out questionnaires about how many cups they drank per day and whether they chose instant, ground or decaffeinated.
Findings published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiologyshow that 44 percent drank instant, 18 percent ground, and 15 percent decaffeinated.
A little more than a fifth did not drink coffee.
During the 13 years of the study, almost 28,000 participants died.
About 43,000 developed cardiovascular disease, and 30,000 were diagnosed with arrhythmia, a heart rhythm disorder.
All types of coffee were associated with reduced early death from all causes, with two to three cups per day associated with the lowest risk.
Those who drank as much ground coffee were 27 percent less likely to die early than those who did not drink coffee.
Meanwhile, decaffeinated drinkers saw their risk drop by 14 percent, while instant drinkers saw an 11 percent drop.
And all those who drank coffee had a reduced risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The sweet spot was again two to three mugs, which was associated with a one-fifth lower risk among ground coffee drinkers, a nine percent lower risk among instant coffee drinkers, and a 6 percent lower risk among decaffeinated drinkers.
Coffee beans contain more than 100 bioactive compounds that are “probably” behind the findings.
Some have been shown to reduce inflammation, while others have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and boost metabolism.
Caffeine can be ruled out as the only factor in health benefits due to the results of decaffeinated coffee.
Professor Peter Kistler, cardiologist and lead author, said: “The findings suggest that consumption of ground, instant and mild to moderate decaffeinated coffee should be considered as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
The researchers noted that data on coffee consumption was self-reported and assumed to remain constant throughout the study, so may be inaccurate.
Dr Dwayne Mellor, a nutritionist at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, who was not involved in the study, said the study did not prove the health benefits of coffee.
He noted that studies have shown that both coffee and tea reduce the risk of heart problems and early death. This suggests a health benefit not in the beverages themselves, but in the behaviors associated with coffee and tea consumption, Dr. Mellor said.
He added: “Importantly, a simple cup of coffee, perhaps with a bit of milk, is very different from a large latte with syrup and cream.
“Thus, moderate coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, but it’s how you consume it that matters.
“So ideally no added sugar or other caloric extras. And think carefully about any snacks, such as cakes and biscuits, that you might be tempted to include with your coffee.’
Doctors warn that excessive coffee consumption can damage the heart.
In addition, too much coffee can lead to dehydration, as it causes the body to urinate more often. It can also damage your teeth if it contains flavored syrups and sugar.
However, dozens of studies have highlighted the benefits of drinking several cups a day.
Previous studies have shown that the drink can reduce the risk of heart disease, heart failure and stroke, as well as prolong life.
Experts believe that one of the mechanisms behind these findings is that caffeine enhances a process important for the repair of heart cells.