How Many Cups of Coffee a Day Are Best for You?

It is clear from numerous scientific studies that coffee has lots of health benefits and even has been shown to prolong life. But how much is enough and can you drink too much coffee? The British Medical Journal may be able to help us decide how many cups of coffee a day is best for you. They published a study about coffee consumption and health.

Coffee consumption seems generally safe within usual levels of intake, with summary estimates indicating largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm. Robust randomized controlled trials are needed to understand whether the observed associations are causal. Importantly, outside of pregnancy, existing evidence suggests that coffee could be tested as an intervention without significant risk of causing harm. Women at increased risk of fracture should possibly be excluded.

This study was a statistical analysis of many other very large observational studies, many of which we have written about. People were asked many questions including how much coffee they drank and those answers were compared to incidence of diseases and longevity. A useful part of the analysis was that they looked at the optimal amount of coffee for people to drink to get the health benefits and avoid side effects such as jitteriness and excess stomach acid. Three to four cups of coffee a day seems to be the ideal and it can be healthy organic coffee, regular or decaf according to the evidence.

Is There More Too the Story?

The researchers note that interventional studies are needed to find out more. That means picking a group of people and randomly assigning them to coffee drinking and non-coffee-drinking groups. One study would likely be healthy organic coffee versus regular and another might be organic versus regular versus decaf of both kinds. The sorts of things that might show up include what was found in a Spanish study. We noted recently that benefits of coffee improve with age.

Research has shown that if you drink coffee you live longer. That is to say that over a given period of time coffee drinkers are less likely to die than folks who don’t drink coffee.

Another scientific study has come out with the ultimate health benefit of drinking coffee, drink coffee and live longer. The results of the study showed that people who drank between one and five cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of dying that those who did not drink any coffee.

Now those results have been replicated in a Spanish study and in to addition the fact that folks who drink coffee are less likely to die in the next ten years the protective effect of coffee is stronger in people over the age of 45. Time reports the story about how coffee’s benefits may be strongest for people over 45.

Adults who drank four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of dying during a new 10-year Spanish study, compared to those who rarely or never drank the beverage. The link between coffee and reduced mortality risk was strongest for people over 45, the authors say, suggesting that the drink’s protective elements are even more important in older age.

The researchers say that for every two cups of coffee a person drinks per day they receive the benefit of a 22% lower risk of death in the next ten years. However, when the data is parsed out by age groups it turns out that for those over the age of 45 experienced at 30% reduction in ten year mortality. And when the older people were subtracted from the study there was little change in predicted mortality for the younger members of the study.

The key seems to be the antioxidants in coffee. While many fruits and berries have more antioxidants pound per pound than coffee it is coffee that is the best antioxidant source in the world because we drink so much of it. And it turns out that 3 to 4 cups a day provide the best benefits.

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