For those of you who have been nursing the old cup of joe long before it became a trending medium for urbane cafe chains and a popular pre-dating battleground in the love game, well, Joe is about to give you more lovin’ with his morning glory. A study has found that older folks who drink coffee (even decaf) have a lower risk of death than those who don’t.

Water aside, coffee is perhaps the next most consumed beverage in the world with 2.25 billion cups gulped down everyday. But due to its caffeine content, the power-perker is mistaken for a bad friend, despite coffee being a rich source of antioxidants and bioactive compounds. Coffee has also been linked to lowering depression and altering estrogen levels among women too.

Other studies have also linked coffee consumption and death, but the recent study by the National Institutes of Health (USA) found otherwise. Researchers analyzed and followed 229,119 men and 173,141 women between the ages of 50 to 71 from 1995 until their deaths or when the course completed in 2008. Participants were given a questionnaire and then arranged into 10 coffee-consumption-frequency categories ranging from zero to six regular or decaf cups per day.

To compare the results between participants who drank coffee and those who didn’t, those who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had a 10% lower risk of death while men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 10% and 15% lower risk of death respectively.

Though the coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke cigarettes, eat red meat and consume alcohol, these risk factors, when adjusted to the study, revealed that drinking coffee was not related to death. These participants were also less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and infections.

However, since the study was based on observation, the researchers couldn’t officially conclude that coffee drinking directly reduces death risk, though they speculated that if there was a relationship between coffee drinking and decreased death risk, it’s likely due to the 1000 different compounds contained in Joe’s beans and their range of effects.

It is possible that these compounds may shift and change according to how people take their coffee; a further look into this needs to be taken pronto. So… should we expect a heated match between the French press and the Italian espresso soon?

Whether drinking coffee increases longevity or not, it seems that billions around the world are still grateful for it to help us function in the morning. So here’s to raising our stained coffee mugs to the innocent goat that accidentally mistook some coffee beans for berries and got into an energetic fit, leading Ethiopian goat herder Kaldi to discover and introduce coffee to humans in the 9th-century (as legend has it).

What are your views on drinking coffee for health? Have you experienced any health warnings or dangers with your coffee intake? If you don’t drink coffee, would you be open to picking it up for health reasons?