Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. And if you are a finicky eater who doesn’t get much fruits or vegetables in their diet, coffee may actually be one of the main sources of antioxidants in your diet.

Antioxidants are important because they protect you against oxidative stress in your body caused by damaging free radicals. Oxidation is something we need to prevent because it is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing and common, serious conditions like cancer and heart disease.

Several studies show that regular coffee intake is linked to a lower risk of dying from various serious diseases.

An important 2012 study on coffee consumption in 402,260 people aged 50–71 observed that those who drank the most coffee were significantly less likely to have died during the 12–13-year study period.

The ideal quantity appeared to be a coffee intake of 4–5 cups per day. At this rate of consumption, men and women had a 12% and 16% reduced risk of early death, respectively. Drinking 6 or more cups per day provided no additional benefit.

However, even moderate coffee consumption of just one cup per day was associated with a 5–6% lowered risk of early death — showing that even a little bit is enough to have an effect.

Looking at particular causes of death, researchers found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die from infections, injuries, accidents, respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

But of course, everything in moderation. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it triggers fluid loss. However, newer research indicates that after about five days of consistent caffeine intake, your body adjusts, which negates the dehydrating effect. The trick is, you have to be consistent. In other words, if you sometimes have one cup of coffee in the morning, sometimes three, or if you occasionally reach for it in the afternoon, you may feel the effects (headaches, dry skin, constipation).

However, one thing to be cheerful about is that studies show that coffee may make you happier, reducing your risk of depression and suicide by 20% and 53%, respectively.

Thus, coffee may not only add years to your life but also life to your years!