Each participant was questioned about their coffee consumption, ranging from zero to a maximum category of six cups a day or more. The health of each was tracked through 2008 or until death.
The results showed that drinking even one cup of coffee a day was linked to a lower overall risk of dying and a lower specific risk of dying from many of today's most potent public health concerns.
The notable exception: Coffee drinking was not linked to a reduction in cancer fatalities among women, and had only a marginal protective impact on cancer deaths among men.
The protective effect appeared greater among those who drank more than one cup a day, although Freedman noted that little difference was seen between the apparent benefit at two cups a day and six cups a day.
"And going forward we really need to look at the many different components in coffee," he added. "Besides caffeine, coffee contains about another 1,000 compounds and antioxidants, some of which may be beneficial and some not."
Coffee preparation also needs to be explored, Freedman noted. "Because a lot of people like drip coffee, but others have espresso or French press. And the beans can be roasted to different amounts. And each of these choices affects the compound. And we don't know whether this affects the association with disease as well," he explained.
The authors cautioned that participants were not asked if their coffee-drinking habits had changed over the study period. Also, the study did not take into account pre-existing health issues.
For now, Freedman recommends talking to your doctor before starting to drink more coffee because personal health history might affect the advice you receive.
Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said that, at a minimum, the new study seems to confirm what most research
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