The health benefits of coffee are regularly disputed but a new study has provided some good news for caffeine lovers.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health have found that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of early death.

In fact, they revealed that drinking up to seven cups every day - twice the amount of caffeine recommended by the UK Food Standards Agency – could cut death rates by 16 per cent.

For the study, the team used data from the UK Biobank, through which 500,000 UK adults aged between 38 and 73 completed health questionnaires, underwent physical examinations and provided biological samples.

The researchers asked each person about their smoking and drinking habits, as well as their coffee consumption, including how many cups they drank a day and the type: decaffeinated, ground or instant.

During the 10-year follow-up period, around 14,200 participants died, however, the researchers found that those with a higher level of coffee intake lived for longer.

The study found that participants who drank eight cups or more per day saw their death rates cut by 14 per cent, while this increased to 16 per cent among those who drank six to seven cups.

Two to five cups reduced early death rates by 12 per cent, while one cup or less than one cup per day resulted in eight and six per cent, respectively.

The researchers from Heinrich-Heine-University and the IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf, Germany, revealed that consuming four cups of coffee a day could help protect cardiovascular cells from damage and even help them repair.