Coffee could help you live longer, two major studies have shown.
One suggested people who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have an 18% reduced risk of death.
The studies, both published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, were carried out across 16 years by scientists in Europe and the US and are the clearest evidence yet that drinking coffee can add years to people’s lives.
Experts believe the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee are responsible for the life-extending effect.
Dr Marc Gunter, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, who led the European study across 10 countries with colleagues from Imperial College London, said: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.
“Importantly, these results were similar across all of the 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.”
The European study looked are more than half a million people and found that men who had at least three cups of coffee a day were 18% less likely to die from any cause than non-coffee drinkers.
Women drinking the same amount benefited less, but still experienced an 8% reduction in mortality over the period measured.
Similar results were reported by American scientists who conducted a separate investigation, recruiting 185,855 participants.
The US researchers found that people who drank one cup of coffee daily were 12% less likely to die than those who drank no coffee. Drinking two to three cups of coffee reduced the chances of death by 18%.
Lead author Dr Veronica Setiawan, from the University of Southern California, said: “We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association. If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”
Coffee is one of the world’s favourite beverages, with an estimated 2.25 billion cups drunk globally each day.
Britons consume around 55 million cups of coffee per day, according to the British Coffee Association.
Previous research has suggested that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and some cancers.