Consider your morning; your alarm goes off, you get up and get dressed, probably yawn and then pour yourself a nice mug of coffee to allow you to start the day.
This general routine is carried out by millions and is seen as nothing more than wake-up call.
However, a recently published study on the benefits of coffee has found that drinking one to five cups of coffee a day, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, actually lowers the risk of total mortality (or death).
Coffee is one of the most heavily consumed drinks worldwide.
There is a lot of research into the effects of coffee with some street myths saying that drinking too much is bad for you.
On the contrary, previous scientific research into coffee consumption has shown that it lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes, types of cancer and cardiovascular disease when it's consumed in moderation.
In the current study, Dr. Frank B Hu, from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health used food frequency questionnaires to measure the amount of coffee consumed by a total of 167,944 women and 40,557 men.
The questionnaires were given out every four years, with the participants asked to fill out how often, from "never or less than once per month" to "six or more times a day", they drank a standard size mug of coffee.
The study was started in 1986 and the participants were given the questionnaire until their death.
During the follow up to the study, a total of 31,956 deaths were recorded.
The questionnaires also took into consideration, age, weight, smoking status and physical activity, along with other factors used to update the information for each participant. The cause of death was recorded against the consumption of coffee.
This yielded results for both total cause of death and cause-specific death in relation to coffee consumption.
The study found that the regular drinking of coffee (both decaffeinated and fully caffeinated) lowered the risk of total deaths, especially deaths due to cardiovascular disease and neurological disease.
Interestingly coffee drinking and death due to lung cancer or respiratory disease (where smoking is a key risk factor) had a positive association, i.e. the more coffee consumed, the more likely it was to develop these diseases.
However when the study was restricted to only never-smoker participants there was a linear relationship between coffee and lower risk of mortality and the positive association between coffee and death from lung cancer/respiratory disease disappeared.
The researchers also go on to say that coffee should be part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle.
The reasons why this is the case are still being researched, however previous studies into coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes have shown that there is several pathways in which coffee can cause protection.
One of these explanations is that the components found in coffee, like magnesium, reduced the body's resistance to insulin; insulin allows your body to take up glucose that is in the blood. But when there is insulin resistance as in type 2 diabetes, you cannot use the glucose in the blood; meaning it builds up there and causes health problems.
So good news if you reading this with a cup of coffee next to you; coffee is good for you and, if you don't smoke, could actually protect you against age-related disease in the future!
Image credit: Jakub Kapusnak at FoodiesFeed.com (https://foodiesfeed.com/flatwhite-coffee-closeup-berlin/)