The consumption of coffee could have significant health benefits, even increasing lifespans by up to nine minutes a day according to new research.
Two new studies suggest that even a single cup of coffee a day can significantly decrease the risk of dying early. One 350ml cup can reduce the risk by 12 percent while three cups reduces the risk by 18 percent.
Sir David Speigelhalter, Winton professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge calculated that coffee consumption can increase male's lives by three months and women's by one.
"Pro-rata, that's as if that cup of coffee puts, on average, around nine minutes on a man's life, and around three minutes on a woman's. So perhaps we should relax and enjoy it," he said.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Southern California (USC) who conducted the studies said the positive effects of coffee are credible because of the antioxidants in the drink.
"If you like to drink coffee, drink up. If you're not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start," said Dr Veronica Setiawan, associate professor of preventative medicine at USC.
"Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention."
Imperial researchers evaluated data from 10 European countries of over half a million people aged 35 plus.
After lifestyle factors were accounted for the researchers found that those that consumed the most coffee had a lower risk for all causes of death.
"We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases," said lead author Dr Marc Gunter of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and formerly at Imperial's School of Public Health.
"Our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking - up to around three cups per day - is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits."
In the United States, a USC study of 215,000 people found that even one cup of coffee a day could reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson's disease and other chronic diseases.
Professor Elio Riboli, head of the School of Public Health at Imperial, said "These findings add to a growing body of evidence which indicates that drinking coffee not only is safe, but it may actually have a protective health effect for people."
Further research is needed but for now researchers are focused on what compounds are to credit for the health benefits of coffee.