The benefits and risks of coffee are often debated, but a new study has found that coffee drinkers may be better off sticking to that cup of joe: in fact, having two cups of coffee a day may just help you live longer — even if it's decaf.
The latest coffee study followed 400,000 healthy older men and women and is the largest study to ever look at the benefits and risks of coffee. Of the study group, 42,000 did not drink any coffee, about 15,000 drank more than six cups a day, and the remaining study participants averaged two to three cups. After following the group for almost two decades, researchers found that those who drank coffee lived longer than those who didn't; men who drank two to three cups of coffee were 10 percent less likely to die at any age, and women who drank the same amount were 13 percent less likely to die at any age. The biggest risk reduction was seen in women who drank four to five cups a day.
The findings aren't a reason to force yourself to drink coffee; after all, the benefits are small, and too much caffeine can make you feel wired, anxious, or irritable, and may increase your risk of heart conditions. But the good news is that the study didn't find any differences between drinking decaf and regular coffee, so if you're a coffee fan but hate that wired feeling you get when you drink too much, have a cup of decaf in the afternoon — it just may help you live longer. (And if you don't like coffee, there's always green tea!)