If you’re trying to cut back on coffee for your health, this new study might get you back to relaxing with your morning cuppa instead. It turns out that drinking up to three cups of coffee a day may not be bad for your health after all. It may even have some benefits - just don’t pair it with smoking and a bad diet.

A landmark study exploring the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality has found that higher levels of coffee consumption are linked to a reduced risk of death from all causes, especially circulatory and digestive tract diseases.

"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," said lead author Dr Marc Gunter of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and formerly at Imperial's School of Public Health.

While previous research has yielded conflicting results, more recent, larger studies in Japan and the US have shown potential benefits of imbibing the beany brew.  In a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine last month, researchers analyzed data related to the diets and lifestyle of over 500,000 people over 35 from 10 EU countries. They found that those who drank more coffee were also more likely to be younger, smokers, drinkers, eat more meat and eat less fruit and vegetables.

After making statistical adjustments for factors like smoking and diet, the group with the highest consumption of coffee had a lower risk of all causes of death compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. The effect of decaffeinated coffee was similar, according to the study. 

But before recommending medicinal java, more research is needed to explain why coffee may have these beneficial effects. "Due to the limitations of observational research, we are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee,” Dr. Gunter noted.

But coffee drinkers can still rejoice: your moderate consumption of up to three cups a day is likely a benefit to your health!