Coffee drinkers rejoice – and live longer

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 Photo: Getty Images

If you need a hit or two of caffeine to get through the day, we've got excellent news: not only is it helping you today, that cup of coffee could actually be extending your life.

This is the finding of not one, but two recent studies. And the best news? You need to drink multiple coffees every day to reap these rewards. So get brewing!

As someone who has been trying to minimise coffee intake over recent years – while also parenting three children who hate it when I sleep – I am over the moon about this research.

And I know I'm not the only parent who uses caffeine as a bit of a crutch to get through the day. Look around at any café around mid-morning and you'll see parents everywhere, with thousand yard stares, clutching those coffee cups with the white knuckles of desperation that show this beverage is not just a delicious treat – it's utterly necessary.

The first study looked at 520,000 people from 10 European countries over 16 years. Over that time, researchers found that men who drank three cups of coffee every day had a 12 per cent risk of dying than those who didn't drink coffee. Women who drank coffee had a 7 per cent lower risk of dying.

For the second study, researchers surveyed over 120,000 people across a range of ethnicities, including African Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos and Caucasians. What they found was an across-the-board benefit of drinking two to four coffees a day, with an 18 per cent lower risk of dying for all ethnicities.

And there's more good news for those who don't have a fancy pants coffee machine or a café around the corner: the benefits apply no matter what sort of coffee you drink. Espresso or instant both work a treat.

It even works for decaf, but I won't be testing that out, myself.

The one thing to be aware of is not over-imbibing. Each of the studies found that overconsumption – that is, five cups or more – can be bad for your health. But two to four cups is just right.