6 Healthy Reasons to Drink Coffee

Studies on the potential health benefits of our favorite morning beverage just keep pouring in.

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More happy news is brewing for coffee lovers — yet another study has found the beloved beverage is good for you.

A Southampton University research team found drinking coffee may reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis, aka scarring of the liver caused by conditions like chronic alcohol abuse and hepatitis. Cirrhosis has no cure and up to 50 percent of all cases are caused by alcohol consumption, according to the World Health Organization. But when researchers analyzed nine different studies on coffee's effects on alcohol consumption, they discovered drinking even one cup of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing the condition by 22 percent.

Drink more than one cup a day? Even better. According to the February 2016 review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, cirrhosis risk was 43 percent lower after two cups of java each day, 57 percent lower after three, and 65 percent lower after four. It's worth noting this doesn't mean a coffee reverses liver damage caused by drinking too much — it's just associated with a reduced risk of developing cirrhosis in the future.

This study is just one of many to link coffee drinking with good health. And because few things are as gratifying as finding out you've been doing something healthy without even trying, here are some of our favorite java guzzlers to share five more ways coffee has been linked to better health:

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1 Lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

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According to a November 2015 study published in the American Heart Association's (AMA) journal Circulation, people who enjoy three to five cups of coffee — doesn't matter if it's regular or decaf — each day had a lower risk of dying prematurely from several illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases (such as Parkinson's disease), type 2 diabetes, and suicide.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wanted to see if there was a link between drinking coffee and longevity, so they examined the data from three larger ongoing studies that consisted of 208,000 men and women.

"These data support the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report that concluded that 'moderate coffee consumption' can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern," said senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, in a press release.

2 Lower risk of breast cancer coming back after treatment

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In a February 2015 study published in Clinical Cancer Research, researchers from Sweden discovered that breast cancer survivors who drank at least two cups of coffee each day had half the risk of recurrence compared to those who sipped less or no coffee at all. The study of 1,090 breast cancer patients also showed the women who enjoyed at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumors and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumors.

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3 Reduced type 2 diabetes risk

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In an April 2014 review of three major studies that looked at more than 123,000 adults over a 20-year period, researchers found increasing coffee consumption by (on average) 1.5 cups per day over 4 years reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 11 percent. In fact, those who sipped three or more cups of java per day had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes, which was 37 percent lower than those who consumed a cup or less per day.

4 Better survival in colon cancer patients

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According to an August 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, drinking caffeinated coffee may prevent colon cancer from returning. After analyzing the questionnaires of nearly 1,000 adults who were treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, researchers discovered these patients were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 34 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause. "If you are a coffee drinker and are being treated for colon cancer, don't stop," said lead study author Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, Director at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in a press release. "But if you're not a coffee drinker and wondering whether to start, you should first discuss it with your physician."

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5 Better liver health

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In an October 2014 study of nearly 28,000 adults published in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases' journal Hepatology, researchers found people who consumed more three or more cups of coffee each day had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. "These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health," said lead researcher Qian Xiao, PhD, MPH, from the National Cancer Institute in a press release.

6 Lower risk of death

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The AMA's study isn't the first time coffee has been associated with lower mortality risk. A 2012 National Cancer Institute (NCI) study of nearly 400,000 older adults (ages 50 to 71) showed people who drink regular or decaf coffee were less likely to die from a host of fatal conditions — such as heart disease, respiratory disease, injuries and accidents, stroke, diabetes, and infections — compared to those who don't drink coffee.

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