At this point, we're not going to give up our coffee habit—and we have science on our side. Your morning brew may decrease depression, lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, protect you from dementia, and even prevent obesity, according to past studies. Now, new research from the American Heart Association, and published in the journal Circulation, says you don't have to stop at one cup—have two or three! Those extra mug-fulls won't just wake you up, they might also lengthen your life.
The study was based on three long-term, ongoing studies, totaling more than 200,000 men and women. Researchers observed that people who consumed "moderate" amounts of coffee every day—defined as "less than five cups"—had a reduced risk of heart disease, neurological disease, Type 2 diabetes, and suicide. The study authors looked at participants' self-reported coffee habits every four years for up to 30 years. During this time, about 19,000 women and 12,000 men passed away.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, the scientists said that "regular consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet," due to its protective effects.
"Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," study author Ming Ding, M.D. said in a statement. "They might be responsible for the inverse association between coffee and mortality. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects."
And even if you opt for decaf, get a refill: the benefit extended to both types of coffee, leading researchers to believe that the effects weren't due to caffeine, but the chemical makeup of coffee beans. Craving coffee now? Here's how to make the perfect cup.