Are you an avid coffee drinker? Here’s something you can use as an argument every time someone warns you against drinking your third cup of coffee for the day: Coffee may actually add some years to your life.
A paper published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine details a study that began in 1995. A total of 402,260 test subjects (none of whom had heart disease or cancer) between the ages 50 and 71 were asked about their coffee drinking habits. Only 42,000 of all the test subjects were non-coffee drinkers, while most of them admitted to drinking two to three cups a day. A small number of subjects — 15,000 — said their daily coffee consumption usually reaches six cups.
By the time 2008 rolled in, 52,000 of the test subjects had already passed away. Based on the data gathered by the researchers, men who drank two to three cups of coffee daily were 10% less like to die, while it goes up to 13% for women. The percentage even reaches 16% for women who drink four to five cups a day.
According to the study, it doesn’t make a difference whether the coffee you drink is decaf or not — it’s not the caffeine that matters. Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact substance that benefits your health — it could be any one of coffee’s many components. It’s clear that more research is needed to establish the connection between drinking coffee and having a longer life, but Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health believes it’s “the best evidence we have.”
Before you get up from your seat to get another cuppa, Dr. Hu has two pieces of advice for you. First, avoid cream and sugar and anything that could negate the health properties of coffee. Second, filter your coffee beans instead of boiling them, because filtering removes the components that can raise your cholesterol levels.
This story originally appeared on Tecca. More from Tecca: