Esther Lopez-Garcia, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from 84,214 and 41,736 men. Coffee consumption was assessed first in 1980 for women and in 1986 for men and then followed up every two to four years through 2004.
Study participants completed questionnaires on how frequently they drank coffee, and were asked about other dietary habits, smoking, and health conditions. The researchers then compared the frequency of death from any cause, death due to heart disease, and death due to cancer among people with different coffee-drinking habits.
While accounting for other risk factors, the researchers found that people who drank more coffee were less likely to die during the follow-up period. This was mainly because of lower risk for heart disease deaths among coffee drinkers.
Specifically, women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and an 18 percent lower risk of death caused by something other than cancer or heart disease compared to non-coffee drinkers during the follow-up period.
Men had a neither higher nor lower risk of death regardless of coffee consumption, according to the study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.