I'm sipping on a small coffee right now and am considering grabbing another one pretty soon. Thanks to a new study in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, people with a serious coffee-drinking habit (like me) can thank science for being on our side. The study explored the relationship between coffee and mortality, and it found that people who drink a lot of the caffeinated beverage — up to eight cups a day, in fact — may live longer.
"We observed an inverse association for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants who reported drinking at least one cup per day, up to eight or more cups per day, as well as those drinking filtered, instant, and decaffeinated coffee," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Erikka Loftfield, told Time. The ages of this particular study ranged from 38 to 73 years, and the researchers findings' reflect participation from about half a million people in Britain.
More than 150,000 of the participants drank two or three cups per day, and after a 10-year followup, coffee drinkers "were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers," the study found. Dr. Loftfield, whose research is strongly focused on dietary intake, explained that coffee "contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage."
This is certainly not the first time we've learned of results like these, but this does mark the first large study that shows how coffee can benefit even those who metabolize caffeine slowly. Research has led to many links between coffee and a longer life, as well as reduced inflammation, and this study reaffirms those findings. As always, however, the advice to drink up isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Coffee affects people differently, and if you think you might be drinking too much caffeine (jitters are no fun), then you might want to scale back.