A morning cup of coffee can be just the thing to shake off your sleepiness and give you the energy to take on the day. But it turns out that your daily java ritual might be doing more for you than helping you wake up. That's because a study has found that drinking a certain amount of coffee each day can actually add years to your life and improve your health. Read on to see how much joe you should be getting in on the regular.
Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day reduces your early death risk by 15 percent.
The research comes by way of an analysis published in the American Heart Association's (AHA) journal Circulation in 2015. A team used data from three large studies totaling 208,501 participants that were followed up with for up to 30 years. This included a food questionnaire that tracked each person's coffee consumption.
Researchers found a direct correlation between the amount of coffee consumed—including decaffeinated coffee—and mortality, with those who drank three to five cups a day witnessing a 15 percent drop in early death for any reason. The study authors wrote that "significant inverse associations were observed between coffee consumption and deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease, neurologic diseases, and suicide."
Another recent study found that coffee can also help boost your heart health.
Mounting research also shows that partaking in some daily java can help keep some of your most vital organs healthy. A study published on June 14 in the AHA's journal Circulation: Heart Failure also analyzed three major studies that collected data on more than 21,000 adults over the span of at least a decade.
Participants self-reported their coffee intake by indicating they had zero, one, two, or three or more cups daily. Results showed that anyone with daily caffeinated coffee intake saw a drop in their risk of long-term heart failure. But those who drank at least two cups a day saw a 30 percent decrease in heart failure compared to those who reported drinking no coffee or only one cup.
The study's findings reverse some previous thinking that caffeine could cause heart problems.
The team concluded that while there were some limitations, the study results could reverse some public misconceptions about coffee and cardiovascular health. "The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising," David P. Kao, MD, the study's senior author, assistant professor of cardiology, and medical director at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be 'bad' for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc. The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head."
But he said that more research needed to be done to find out exactly how coffee factored into improved heart health when it came to the bigger picture. "There is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to decrease risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as stopping smoking, losing weight, or exercising," he said.
One expert says coffee should be considered a part of a "heart-healthy dietary pattern."
Another expert weighing in on the study said that even though the researchers could claim no concrete proof of coffee's health benefits, drinking a daily cup of coffee could boost cardiovascular health under the right circumstances. "While unable to prove causality, it is intriguing that these three studies suggest that drinking coffee is associated with a decreased risk of heart failure and that coffee can be part of a healthy dietary pattern if consumed plain, without added sugar and high-fat dairy products such as cream," Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences and distinguished professor of nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University, College of Health and Human Development, said in a statement.
Besides warning that overconsumption of coffee could lead to jitteriness and sleep problems, Kris-Etherton said that java has its place in a well-balanced diet. "The bottom line: enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern that meets recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat [or] non-fat dairy products, and that also is low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars," she concluded.