Three Coffees a Day Brings More Health than Harm, According to Study

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People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease than those who abstain, scientists said on Wednesday.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times.

"Coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption", the researchers concluded in their study, published in the British Medical Journal on November 22.

They also saw their risk of heart death fall by a fifth, Alzheimer's disease by a quarter and liver disease by more than a third.

"I think now we can be reasonably reassured that overall, coffee drinking is a safe habit", Dr Eliseo Guallar, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, mentioned in his editorial which accompanied the study.

Dr Poole and researchers from the University of Edinburgh reviewed 201 studies that had aggregated data from observational research and 17 studies that collected statistics from clinical trials. Those who drink three or four cups of coffee every day could significantly reduce the chances of early death, a study suggests. Numerous included studies may have adjusted for factors that may be associated with both the health outcome and with coffee drinking, such as smoking.

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The study authors, led by the university's specialist registrar in public health Dr Robin Poole, said this shows coffee drinking "seems safe within usual patterns of consumption, except during pregnancy and in women at increased risk of fracture".

As the paper points to health benefits "associated" with coffee consumption, but not proved to be causal, researchers believe further studies would be beneficial.

She said: "It looks like good news for regular coffee drinkers". "There is a balance of risks in life, and the benefits of moderate consumption of coffee seem to outweigh the risks".

"Mothers-to-be need not panic but might want to limit their coffee consumption to two cups per day in line with the recent European guidelines on caffeine".

It's not really shocking that coffee is one of the most consumed beverages globally - millions of people drink it before starting their day jobs, and they refill their cups throughout the day.

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