If you’re a coffee lover, this might be the good news you were waiting for. The British Medical Journal has made a large review of studies about coffee drinking, and says that moderate coffee drinking is safe, and may even have some health benefits.

The review found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers, and also a lower risk of dying from a stroke. The caveat is that the researchers couldn’t prove that coffee was responsible.

Researchers from the University of Southampton collected data on the impact of coffee on the human body. To do this, they took into account more than 200 studies, most of which were observational.

People who drank about three cups of coffee a day seemed to have a reduced risk of getting heart problems of dying from them than those who didn’t drink coffee. There also seemed to be reduced risks of liver disease in coffee drinkers.

The review couldn’t say for sure it was coffee that had made the difference, as there were other factors that may have contributed, such as age, smoking status and exercise. The findings do, however, back up other recent studies of coffee consumption, so that’s something coffee fans can be pleased about.

There are certain groups of people who should be careful about their coffee intake, though. The NHS advises pregnant women not to have more than 200mg of caffeine per day, which is around two mugs of instant coffee. The reason for this is that too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage.

The review also recommended that women who are at risk of fractures should limit their coffee intake, and experts say people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

For most healthy adults, moderate coffee intake equates to about 400mg or less of caffeine, which is around three to four mugs of instant coffee a day. One mug of filter coffee contains around 140mg.

You should also bear in mind that there are other foods and drinks which contain caffeine, and will count towards your daily intake:

  • A bar of dark chocolate: less than 25mg
  • A mug of tea: 75mg
  • A can of cola: 40mg
  • A 250ml can of energy drink: up to 80mg

Researchers are unsure about exactly how coffee in moderation could be beneficial, but say it could be down to anti-oxidants and anti-fibrotics which can slow or prevent damage to body cells.