If you drink at least one cup of coffee per day, you're in the company of 54 percent of American adults who do the same. Raise your daily consumption levels any higher and you'll venture into the territory of more devoted coffee fanatics. But enjoying coffee in moderation isn't the only way to reap the beverage's health benefits. As one study suggests, having four cups of coffee a day can lower your risk of early death.
The new research, which was released by the European Society of Cardiology, includes data from nearly 20,000 participants in Spain. The volunteers entered the study at an average age of 37.7 years old and were asked about their food and coffee-drinking habits as well as their health history and lifestyle choices.
After about 10 years, the subjects were revisited. Researchers found that those who reported drinking at least four cups of coffee a day were 64 percent more likely to avoid dying early than those who barely drank coffee at all. With each additional two cups the study participants consumed per day, their risk of all-cause mortality was cut by another 22 percent.
Lead study author Adela Navarro told The Telegraph that these results are likely tied to coffee's anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent a variety of ailments like heart disease and Alzheimer's. The work of such compounds is most notable in coffee drinkers over a certain age, according to the study. While participants age 45 and older lowered their risk of dying by 30 percent with each additional two cups of coffee they drank, the younger subjects showed no significant correlation.
Of course, any new study that touts the life-saving benefits of coffee must be weighed against previous research on the negative effects of caffeine addiction. That means you shouldn't automatically boost your coffee intake to four cups a day and expect to get healthier without changing other aspects of your lifestyle. But if those four cups are already a part of your routine, you can continue to chug them down relatively guilt-free.