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Coffee can have health benefits, says study

By Ella Pickover

Coffee is "more likely to benefit health than harm", a review has found.

People appear to reduce their risk of a range of health problems when they drink three to four cups a day, experts said.

They concluded that drinking coffee seems safe "within usual patterns of consumption", except in pregnancy and among women who are at risk of a fracture.

Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh reviewed evidence from over 200 studies which examined the effects of coffee consumption on health.

Their study, published in The British Medical Journal, found that drinking three or four cups a day, compared to drinking none, has been linked to a lower likelihood of developing or dying from cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and stroke.

Meanwhile, high consumption levels compared with low consumption levels appeared to confer benefits of an 18% lower risk of incident cancer.

Consumption also had "beneficial associations" with other conditions including diabetes, gallstones, gout and some liver conditions.

The authors wrote: "Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide. As such, even small individual health effects could be important on a population scale.

"Coffee consumption seems generally safe within usual levels of intake, with summary estimates indicating largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm."

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