Can drinking coffee help you live longer?

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If you downed a cup of coffee before your morning run and drank another cup or three afterwards, don’t feel bad about your caffeine addiction. It may just help you live for more years of morning runs.

A new study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation took data collected from three large, on-going, independent cohort studies of men and woman. The researchers examined the association between drinking coffee and risk of death from heart disease, neurological diseases and suicide. The study found people who drank a moderate amount of coffee - fewer than five cups a day - had a lower risk of death.

This result held up whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, which suggests the health benefits may not come from caffeine alone. The bioactive compounds found in coffee, such as antioxidants, may help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance.

While prior studies have been inconsistent in their findings involving coffee, this study supports evidence that regular coffee consumption may be good for you. That said, a direct cause and effect relationship between drinking coffee and risk of death can’t be established, since the study relied on observational and self-report data.

Earlier this year, the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee included a recommendation for coffee for the first time, saying three to five cups of coffee a day can be part of a healthy diet.

So, what do you need to do to reap the perks?

Keep tabs on consumption: Limit yourself to three to five cups of joe a day. Too much caffeine can cause trouble sleeping, shakiness, and anxiety.

Switch to decaf after noon: This will help you fall asleep at night. Caffeine needs several hours to clear from your system.

Sip tea: Both green and black teas provide health benefits as well as lowering risk for certain cancers thanks to health-boosting catechins.

Additional reporting by Debbie Fetter


READ: 8 reasons coffee is good for runners

READ: 5 truths about running and caffeine