According to the study, participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day were at a 64 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality. In this photo, a customer carries a cup of coffee to her table at Colson Patisserie on February 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Could drinking an excess of coffee contribute to longevity and better health? If a new study presented by Spanish researchers is to be believed, consuming at least four cups of the caffeinated beverage per day could be connected to a lower risk of death.

Presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, the observational study by Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, aimed to examine the association between “coffee consumption and the risk of mortality in a middle-aged Mediterranean cohort.” Researchers followed up with nearly 20,000 participants for an average of 10 years for the project.

According to the study, participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day were at a 64 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who rarely or never had coffee. Additionally, researchers observed a 22 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality for every two additional cups of coffee consumed by participants per day.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world,” Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, said in a statement. “Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee might be inversely associated with all-cause mortality but this has not been investigated in a Mediterranean country.”

In addition to the aforementioned findings, the study also revealed that drinking two additional cups of coffee a day saw a 30 percent lower risk of mortality in participants ages 45 and older. The same, however, was not observed in study participants of younger ages.

“Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people,” Dr. Navarro said.

The research appeared to reaffirm a previous study published earlier this year that reported similar findings. A study published in the journal “Annals of Internal Medicine” followed more than 500,000 people across 10 countries in Europe for more than 16 years and found that “coffee drinking was associated with reduced risk for death from various causes.”

But the new study its critics.

“This study suggests there may be an association between drinking coffee and living longer, but it doesn’t prove a causal link or explain how coffee might be having this effect,” Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, told the Telegraph.

Avkiran added that the best way to minimise the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death is to focus on an “overall healthy lifestyle,” which includes eating well, staying active and avoiding harmful habits like smoking.