Coffee good for our health, study suggests

Drinking coffee is more likely to benefit health than to harm it, an Edinburgh study has found.

Experts found that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of death compared with drinking no coffee at all.

Health benefits

Coffee drinking is also associated with lower risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia.

There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.

Risk for women

Consuming coffee may be linked to a very small increased risk of bone fractures in women, however.

It may also be associated with harms if consumed during pregnancy.

Call for trials

On balance, the team says that moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.

This study adds to the growing evidence that coffee can be good for our health. Before we can start prescribing coffee as a preventive medicine, however, we need robust clinical trials to ascertain whether this is mere association or if coffee directly causes these health benefits.

Professor Peter HayesHead of the Division of Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Research review

Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton reviewed more than 200 studies of the health effects of drinking coffee.

The study is published in the British Medical Journal.

Related links

Journal article

Edinburgh Medical School

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