Drinking a moderate amount of coffee every day may be more likely to benefit health than to harm it, according to a study release on Thursday by the University of Southampton.
A team led by Dr Robin Poole, Specialist Registrar in Public Health at the University of Southampton, with collaborators from the University of Edinburgh, carried out an umbrella review of over 200 studies.
Drinking coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease, with the largest reduction in relative risk of death at three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers, said the researchers.
Increasing consumption to above three cups a day was not associated with harm, but the beneficial effect was less pronounced, according to this study, which has been published in the journal The BMJ.
The study also found that coffee drinking is associated with lower risk of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia.
The team concluded that coffee drinking "seems safe within usual patterns of consumption, except during pregnancy and in women at increased risk of fracture".
However, the included studies used mainly observational data, providing lower quality evidence, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the team's findings back up other recent reviews and studies of coffee intake.
In a linked editorial, Eliseo Guallar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicated that although we can be reassured that coffee intake is generally safe, doctors should not recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease and people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.