More proof that coffee is the best vice

By Meghan Cetera
Updated February 13, 2018
EC: Drink Coffee, Outlive Your Non-Coffee-Drinking Friends
Credit: Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock via Getty Images

If coffee is your vice, then you have probably wondered what the effects of coffee-drinking are on your health. Well here’s some good news: You picked the right vice. People who drink about three cups of coffee per day tend to live longer than non-coffee drinkers, according to a new study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine from researchers at International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Imperial College London. It’s the latest in a growing body of research that suggests coffee provides many health benefits and that our non-coffee drinking coworkers need to stop shaming those of us who bow to our coffee overlords.

And sure, it’s easy to cherry pick studies that show that the thing you are addicted to might actually good for you. That’s why your Facebook feed is constantly full of questionable headlines like “Why drinking red wine every night is good for your heart” or “The magical thing eating chocolate does to your brain”. But this isn’t the first time a study has shown that coffee consumption is correlated with a longer life span. In 2015, a large-scale U.S. studyfound that drinking coffee lowered the risk of many chronic health conditions and could lead to a longer life. Another study in 2015, this time in Japan, found that drinking coffee reduces the overall risk of mortality.

This most recent study was the largest of its kind, and examined dietary data from over half a million people across Europe. The researchers tracked respondents for 16 years. After controlling for lifestyle factors like smoking, they found that those who drank the most coffee had a lower risk for all causes of death, compared to those who did not drink coffee at all.

That’s right, coffee may lower the risk of all causes of death. Dying from heart disease? Less likely. Dying from liver failure? Less likely. Dying from a bear attack? So, the study didn’t mention that one but it’s probably safe to assume a fully caffeinated human would be better at evading a bear than a sleepy one.

How exactly coffee contributes to a longer life remains unknown. In fact, the researchers found that life expectancy increased for decaf coffee drinkers as well, suggesting that caffeine may not be the key ingredient contributing to a longer lifespan (sorry, caffeine-addicts). More research is needed to identify what compounds in your morning cup of joe provide health benefits. But in the meantime, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee, or third. It just might save your life.