It’s no secret that coffee is (very, very) good for you. Now, coffee junkies and java lovers have just one more reason to raise their glass—or mug—to their favorite beverage. Not only can coffee improve your memory and protect your brain from dementia, but it can also help you live longer. Plus, you can drink way more joe than you originally thought!
Two new studies published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine just confirmed the good news. The first surveyed more than 520,000 people in ten European countries, making it the largest study ever to link coffee and mortality. Researchers found that drinking more coffee could significantly lower a person’s risk of death across several conditions, including liver disease, suicide in men, cancer in women, and digestive and circulatory diseases. These are the 7 signs you are drinking too much coffee.
“We looked at multiple countries across Europe, where the way the population drinks coffee and prepares coffee is quite different,” said Marc Gunter, reader in cancer epidemiology and prevention at Imperial College’s School of Public Health in the United Kingdom, who co-authored the study. “The fact that we saw the same relationships in different countries is kind of the implication that its something about coffee rather than its something about the way that coffee is prepared or the way it’s drunk.”
The second study dug even deeper. It found that coffee increased longevity by 18 percent among its 185,000 participants, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
“Given these very diverse populations, all these people have different lifestyles. They have very different dietary habits and different susceptibilities—and we still find similar patterns,” said Veronica Wendy Setiawan, associate professor of preventative medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and leader of the study. Here are 11 things that might happen if you switch from coffee to tea.
So, what’s the magic number of cuppas to increase your lifespan? In the European study, those who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a lower risk for all-cause death than people who did not drink coffee at all. The second study found that two to four cups per day did the trick. If your consumption falls in that range, you’ll likely reap the rewards.
The kind of roast you prefer could offer even more wellness rewards. According to another new study examining the chemical makeup of light, dark, and decaf brews, the darker the roast, the more protective chemical phenylindanes in every cup, Health reports. Phenylindanes, which develop during the roasting process, hinder the “clumping” of two protein fragments common in both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, per Science Daily. So those extra cups of coffee could protect against both diseases.
There you have it: Coffee is a miracle drug! All the more reason to pour yourself another cup. Next, check out the 11 ways to make your coffee habit even healthier.