Do you drink multiple cups of coffee a day?
If you do, two new, large studies suggest that you are more likely to live longer than those who don’t. Together, the studies—both published in the Annals of Internal Medicine—tracked more than 700,000 participants for an average of around 16 years. Results were consistent: coffee consumption was associated with a decreased risk of early death, particularly from heart and gut disease.
The first study, which comprised of around 186,000 Americans, found that participants who consumed two or more cups a day were 18% less likely to die by the study’s close (this was after the authors controlled for diet, exercise, smoking, among other factors). In the second study, which examined coffee consumption among more than 520,000 Europeans from 10 countries, found a similar effect: coffee drinkers were less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers.
Before you run to Starbucks, it’s important to note that correlation doesn’t imply causation. Yes, coffee drinkers were associated with lower degrees of premature death than non-coffee drinkers. But coffee wasn't necessarily the differentiating factor that reduced the risk of premature death. The study didn’t control for everything—according to the BBC, it did not consider socio-economic status or social habits, for example. Speaking with CNN, Marc Gunter, one of the European study’s authors, floated the idea that coffee drinkers are healthier to begin with, as many people who avoid the drink do so because of existing health problems.
Magical cure or no, the pair of studies should make coffee drinkers feel better about the habit.
"Moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle," Veronica Wendy Setiawan, who led the European study, told CNN. "This study and the previous studies suggest that for a majority of people, there's no long term harm from drinking coffee."