July 15/The Toronto Star-- A morning coffee may reduce the risk of premature death. Two to three cups a day cut it by 18% in women and 3% in men, according to a new study of more than 100,000 people. Plus, the more everyone drank, the lower the risk. Credit may go to coffee's antioxidants, which seem to fend off cardiovascular disease. That is on top of the other health goodies already known to be in the brew:

4 cups (32oz) of java a day can cut diabetes risk by a third, possibly by improving insulin's effects.

3 cups (24oz) a day drops protects the brain, dropping the risk of Parkinson's disease by 40% and Alzheimer's disease by 20%.

2 cups (16oz) a day keeps the liver healthy, as it filters out pollutants, makes protein, warehouses extra carbs and vitamins, and helps produce bile needed to digest fat.

Many of these benefits also come from decaf. Just be sure to make coffee with a paper filter; the paper traps a compound that otherwise increases lousy LDL cholesterol.

From the July 21, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash