3-5 Cups of Coffee a Day Linked to a Longer Life

Research led by a Harvard University study is pointing out that daily coffee drinkers stand to gain not only a pick me up from their cup of java, but also numerous health benefits compared to those who do not indulge in the drink.

Drinking coffee may lower the risk of premature mortality for those suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. Several studies suggest that coffee contains hundreds of different compounds, including antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the human body from oxidation, a process that increases the number of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are known to harm essential molecules. Oxidation is believed to be one of the causes of common diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Over the course of 30 years, research was conducted based on the data collected from a sample of 160,000 women and 40,000 men. In order to measure their coffee consumption, participants completed questionnaires about their food and drink habits every 4 years.

The findings of this 30 year study proves that those who drank 3-5 cups a day and did not smoke, had a risk level associated with premature death that was 8-15% lower than their counterparts.

This good news for coffee consumers comes from Harvard University where a team of researchers conducted a study showing reduced risk of dying prematurely in individuals who drank a lot of coffee in comparison to those who drank less or none at all. It was estimated that around 3-5 cups of coffee a day had significant benefits to an individual’s health.

The research published in Circulation is only the latest of many studies that shows the protective effects of coffee on health. A few months ago, an Italian study conducted in collaboration with the Higher Institute of Health concluded that coffee can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment. “For about 15 years, knowledge of the protective effects of coffee against the risk of developing dementia has been circulating. It was discussed at great length as to whether caffeine is responsible for this phenomenon,” says Professor Alberto Albanese, Head of the Unit of Neurology at Humanitas Hospital.


How about decaffeinated coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee is loaded with antioxidants and contains a variety of nutrients. Even in the absence of caffeine, it shows to have the same effect as regular coffee on the human body. Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day has been linked to a reduced risk of premature death from type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. 

Further research is needed to be done to better understand the biological mechanism and the protective effects of decaffeinated coffee. Scientists say that coffee contains bio-active substances such as antioxidants and magnesium as well as having properties which reduce insulin resistance and inflammation.

From the research conducted, a simple conclusion can be drawn, “Coffee can be part of a healthy diet.”


Coffee & its beneficial effects on the liver

Among the other positive effects of coffee on the human body, research has documented the benefits its consumption can have on the liver by reducing the presence of abnormal liver enzymes.

“For years now, other publications on animal models and epidemiological studies have demonstrated the protective and powerful effect of coffee against the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,” adds Dr. Giovanni Covini, Hepatologist and Head of Surgeries Check-Up at Humanitas Hospital.

It is important to understand that coffee dosages should always be taken into account. While coffee does provide a lot of health benefits, excessive consumption can be harmful. Coffee can cause, among other things,­ insomnia and agitation.

Enjoy, but also consume with caution.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.