The findings came from the world’s largest study into coffee’s impact on health, involving more than 500,000 people in 10 European countries including Britain.
Dr Marc Gunter, of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said: “We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.
“Importantly, these results were similar across all 10 European countries, with variable coffee drinking habits and customs. Our study also offers important insights into the possible mechanisms for the beneficial health effects of coffee.
“We are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee. That said, our results suggest moderate coffee drinking – up to around three cups per day – is not detrimental to your health, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits.”
Drinking three cups of coffee a day could lead to a longer and healthier life, a study claims
We found that higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases.
Using information from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition they analysed data from 521,330 people over the age of 35.
The highest level of coffee consumption by volume was seen in Denmark at 900ml a day and the lowest in Italy at 92ml a day.
After 16 years almost 42,000 people had died from a range of conditions including cancer, circulatory diseases, heart failure and stroke.
Compared with non-coffee drinkers, men who drank three or more cups had an 18 per cent reduced risk of death. Women who drank the same had a 7 per cent reduced risk.
Higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, a study claimed
Decaffeinated coffee was found to have a similar effect.
The researchers said they made a “statistically significant” observation between those who consumed the most coffee and lower risk of death, compared to non-drinkers.
Professor Elio Riboli, of the school of public health at Imperial College, said: “These findings add to a growing body of evidence which indicates that drinking coffee not only is safe, but it may actually have a protective health effect for people.
“While further research is needed, we can be confident the results from a large European study confirm previous findings seen around the world.”
Coffee drinkers could have better glucose control than non-coffee drinkers, the research claimed
Prof Peter Hayes, part of the University of Edinburgh team, said: “We have shown coffee reduces cirrhosis and also liver cancer in a dose-dependent manner.
“Our research adds to the evidence that, in moderation, coffee can be a wonderful natural medicine.”
Sarah Toule, of World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Our own evidence found that coffee can help decrease the risk of liver cancer.
Two cups a day led to a 35 percent reduction and up to five cups halved the risk.
But drinking more than five cups offered no further protection against hepatocellular cancer, the most common form of liver cancer. Decaffeinated coffee had a beneficial effect, but it was less marked.