(CBS) – Drinking your morning coffee may do more than just help you wake up at work.

New data supports growing evidence that coffee could help prevent death from heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

A study published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation looked at coffee-drinking habits of a large sample of U.S. adults and found moderate coffee drinkers had a lower risk of deaths from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and suicide.

The positive results were seen in those who drink regular coffee and those who drink decaf, suggesting it’s not the caffeine, but the beans that hold the benefits.

“Previous studies show that chemical compounds in coffee beans reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” the study’s first author, Dr. Ming Ding, a doctoral student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CBS News. “This may account for the inverse association between coffee and mortality.”

The study looked at the coffee-drinking habits of 168,000 women and 40,000 men. They were asked about their coffee drinking every four years for 30 years. This was an observational study based on self-reported data and does not show a cause and effect relationship, experts point out.

“Associations are not proof of causation. However, the data on the topic have been very consistent over the years,” Alice H. Lichtenstein, Director and Senior Scientist at the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University and spokesperson for the AHA, told CBS News.

Despite coffee’s benefits, health experts say drinks with high amounts of caffeine should be avoided, especially by children and pregnant women.

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