Drinking one to four cups of coffee a day, reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%, a 13-year-long study from the Netherlands has found.
It adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting health benefits from the most popular hot drinks.
Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, the study of 40,000 people found.
Consuming between two to four coffees a day was also linked to a reduced risk.
While the protective effect ceased with more than four cups of coffee a day, even those who drank this much were no more likely to die of any cause, including stroke and cancer, than those who abstained.
The Dutch tend to drink coffee with a small amount of milk and black tea without. There have been conflicting reports as to whether milk substantially affects the polyphenols – believed to be the most beneficial substance in tea.
Coffee has properties which could in theory simultaneously increase and reduce risk – potentially raising cholesterol while battling the inflammatory damage associated with heart disease.
Tea drinkers often have a higher education, exercise more, drink less alcohol, smoke less and are leaner. For people who drink a lot of coffee it is exactly the opposite. The researchers followed more than 37,000 people for thirteen years. 1387 of whom received a coronary artery disease, 123 of which are deceased. And 563 had a stroke, seventy of them survived this. Previous study already showed that coffee and tea reduce the risk of diabetes type II.