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— Recent study show that coffee drinkers are linked to lower risk of cancers, death compared with non-coffee drinkers
— Drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day may have health benefits

Moderate coffee drinking is safe, and three to four cups a day may have some health benefits, according to a large review of studies, in the BMJ.

Researchers said pinning down exactly how coffee might have a positive impact on health was “difficult” but it could be down to the effects of anti-oxidants and anti-fibrotics, which prevent or slow damage to cells in the body.

Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said coffee drinkers may be healthier people to start with – and that could skew the findings.

“Coffee is known to cause headaches in some people and it also increases the urge to go to the toilet – some people chose not to drink coffee for these reasons.

“Patients with abnormal heart rhythms are often advised to drink de-caffeinated coffee. Caffeine also acutely increases blood pressure, albeit transiently. “

Commenting on the BMJ review, Eliseo Guallar, from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said;

there was still uncertainty about the effects of higher levels of coffee intake.

“Moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.”

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Here’s BMJ review on moderate coffee intake

It found a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers, and a lower risk of dying from stroke – but researchers could not prove coffee was the cause.

Too much coffee during pregnancy could be harmful, the review confirmed.

Experts said people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.

The University of Southampton researchers collected data on the impact of coffee on all aspects of the human body, taking into account more than 200 studies – most of which were observational.

Compared with non-coffee drinkers, those who drank about three cups of coffee a day appeared to reduce their risk of getting heart problems or dying from them.

The strongest benefits of coffee consumption were seen in reduced risks of liver disease, including cancer.

But Prof Paul Roderick, co-author of the study, from the faculty of medicine at University of Southampton, said the review could not say if coffee intake had made the difference.

“Factors such as age, whether people smoked or not and how much exercise they took could all have had an effect,” he said.

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