Study: Drinking four cups of coffee daily lowers risk of death

Feel free to pour that second, third, or even fourth cup of coffee this morning.

Higher consumption of coffee is connected to a lower risk of death, says a study presented by Spanish researchers during the European Society of Cardiology Congress held in Barcelona.

The study, conducted by Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, featured nearly 20,000 participants and followed up with them for an average of 10 years. 

The study found participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who never or almost never drank coffee.

The research also found for participants who were 45 or older, drinking two additional cups of coffee was linked to a 30% lower risk of death.

"Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people," said Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, in a statement.

The findings back up a pair of studies published earlier this year touting the benefits of drinking coffee. One of the studies found coffee was linked to a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Drinking coffee could be connected to a reduced risk of dying from a slew of disease including heart disease and stroke, according to two new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine

The health benefits and limitations of coffee have been long studied, and this isn't the first time coffee drinkers have seen headlines claiming their morning habit may result in a longer life.

One of the studies examined a little over 185,000 Americans, and found that whether people drank caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease in African-Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites.  

"Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian, " Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, said in a statement.

Those who reported that they drank two or three cups of coffee a day had an 18% decrease chance of death compared to those who did not drink coffee over the 16 year test period, according to the study. 

The group reported their coffee drinking habits and updated them every five years.

The European study, surveyed more than 520,000 people across 10 countries, and also found that those who drank several cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of death than those who did not drink coffee. 

The study does have limitations, and the researchers were not able to pinpoint a causal relationship, or why coffee appears to have these health benefits. The researchers note that those who do not report drinking coffee may skip the beverage because of health problems, thus their mortality rate could be the result of them being more unhealthy to begin with. 

Both studies separated smokers from nonsmokers and other factors that could have played a part in the results. 

"We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association," Setiawan said.