How much coffee is too much coffee? As it turns out, your coffee addiction may actually lead to a longer life and moderation of your caffeine intake isn't necessarily needed to maintain a healthy life, according to a 20,000-participant study conducted by Hospital de Navarra over 10 years in Pamplona, Spain.
"Higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death," researchers found, discerning that four cups of coffee a day was the ideal amount to aim for, according to a press release of the study. So next time you're at Starbucks, don't hesitate before ordering a Venti.
Sure, four cups sounds extreme to some, but the data doesn't lie. Study participants who drank at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64 percent lower risk of death when compared to participants who never or almost never drank coffee. What's more, older people drinking more coffee fared even better; participants 45 years old and older who added two additional cups lowered their chances of death by 30 percent.
Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, gave her insight in the press release, noting:
Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee might be inversely associated with all-cause mortality but this has not been investigated in a Mediterranean country.
Quite obviously, Navarro found the opposite in her research, concluding her statement: "Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people." Navarro postulated as to why this might be, crediting "polyphenols (a form of antioxidant), [as] they have an anti-inflammatory effect.”
So you may not have to cut your caffeine intake after all, but some doctors are quick to highlight that finding a link between coffee consumption and lifespan is just that — an observational link, not an exact cause-and-effect. This new research by no means suggests that drinking four cups a day is a cure-all; it simply found that a majority of subjects who drank lots of coffee did, in fact, live longer. "Very healthy people tend to drink lots of caffeine," explained David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, according to The Independent.
Just think about it: If you're out and about constantly, consuming high levels of caffeine to get through your active lifestyle, chances are that you've got a higher baseline of health than someone who lives a more sedentary day-to-day. And if consuming large quantities of coffee fuels your energy needs, then drink up. There's a reason people are addicted to the stuff, and it appears to be quite the healthy addiction.