Here's good news for coffee lovers. A review of over 200 studies indicate drinking coffee may not be as bad and in fact, provides more benefits than harm to an individual.

Researchers from the University of Southampton and University of Edinburgh looked at 201 observational studies and 17 clinical studies and found that drinking four cups of coffee daily yields more benefits.

"Drinking coffees is more likely to benefit health than to harm it," the team said.

Coffee-drinkers, they noted, have lower risks for certain types of cancer (liver, endometrial, skin, and prostate), diabetes, liver diseases, gout, dementia, heart disease, and even risk for death, compared to non-coffee drinkers.

Study results further showed that increased consumption to above three cups a day was not associated with harm, although the beneficial effect was also less pronounced.

Still, the greatest benefit is for the liver, the researchers noted, in particular protection against liver cirrhosis.

There are also positive links between coffee drinking and Parkinson's disease, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

However, the review likewise suggested that drinking coffee while pregnant could lead to an increased - albeit small - risk for fractures.

Not counting women and those at risk for fractures, "coffee drinking appears safe within usual patterns of consumption," the researchers concluded. The review appears in the British Medical Journal.

The research team added they could not conclude for certain if those are the direct benefits of coffee drinking as factors in the separate studies often varied.

An accompanying editorial from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Eliseo Guallar warned that doctors should not recommend coffee as a preventive measure, and that the public should not drink coffee for health reasons as there still is 'uncertainty' about higher amounts of intake.

"Coffee drinking seems safe within usual patterns of consumption, except during pregnancy and in women at increased risk of fracture," the researchers noted. Moreover, there should be a further study to determine if the positive association are "causal". MIMS