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23 November 2017, 09:19
Southampton researchers reckon drinking coffee is more likely to be good for our health - than bad.
Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh, conducted an "umbrella review", bringing together evidence from more than 200 studies which examined the effects of coffee consumption on health.
Their study, published in The British Medical Journal, found that drinking three or four cups a day compared to drinking none has been linked to a lower likelihood of developing or dying from cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and stroke.
Meanwhile high consumption levels compared with low consumption levels appeared to confer benefits of an 18% lower risk of incident cancer.
Drinking coffee has also been linked to a lower risk specific cancers including prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, skin cancer and liver cancer.
Consumption also had "beneficial associations" with other conditions including diabetes, gallstones, gout and some liver conditions.
Coffee drinking is also linked to lower risk of Parkinson's disease, depression, and Alzheimer's disease, they found.
The authors found that harmful associations linked to the caffeinated drink were "largely nullified" when other factors were taken into account such as smoking.
But the health benefits are not seen in pregnant women where high levels of coffee consumption is linked to lower birth rates, preterm birth and pregnancy loss.
Women at risk of fractures should also steer clear, the paper suggests.
The authors wrote:
"Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide.
"As such, even small individual health effects could be important on a population scale.
"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."
But they called for more research to determine whether the links observed in the paper are "causal".