Coffee may not only give you a morning boost -- it also may have significant health benefits.
So says a review by British scientists of more than 200 studies on coffee consumption and health, published Wednesday in BMJ, a British medical journal.
“Coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption,” said the University of Southhampton's Robin Poole, who led the study.
According to the researchers, people who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower rates of premature death, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.
Drinking more coffee also is associated with a decrease in several types of cancer, including prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, skin cancer, leukemia and liver cancer, according to the researchers' findings. There also were lower rates of type 2 diabetes, gallstones and dementia associated with coffee consumption.
Three of four cups of coffee offer the most health benefits, except for pregnant women or those who are prone to suffer fractures.
Since this is an observational analysis of studies that already exist, it is impossible to account for many of the other factors that may influence these findings. More studies are needed to determine correlation versus causation. In other words, it might be that people with more healthy lives also drink coffee, but this news suggests that there are more positive findings than negative ones.
Although the review found than there was more benefit than harm from coffee, the studies were not adjusted for important confounders, such as body-mass index, smoking, age, alcohol use, income or education level.