The results of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that, compared with people who did not drink coffee, male coffee drinkers who downed six or more cups a day were 10 per cent less likely to die during the 14 years of the study.

For the ladies, there were 15 per cent fewer deaths for those drinking six cups of coffee or more.

The researchers said the positive effects of coffee drinking were seen across various causes of death, including heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.

However, critics have argued that it is “biologically implausible” that coffee drinkers should be less likely to die in accidents.

Lead author of the study Dr Neal Freedman, from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, in Maryland, US, wrote: “Given the observational nature of our study, it is not possible to conclude that the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality reflects cause and effect.

“However, we can speculate about plausible mechanisms by which coffee consumption might have health benefits.

“Coffee contains more than 1000 compounds that might affect the risk of death.

“The most well-studied compound is caffeine, although similar associations for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in the current study and a previous study suggest that, if the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality were causal, other compounds in coffee (e.g antioxidants, including polyphenols) might be important.”

He concluded: “In summary, this large prospective cohort study showed significant inverse associations of coffee consumption with deaths from all causes and specifically with deaths due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.”

Long life, brown teeth.

Image: Getty