Coffee is one of the most widely drank beverages in the world. Though most people who consume coffee on a regular basis do so because it gives them a boost of caffeine and it tastes good, coffee has been proven to have a pretty diverse range of health benefits (though it does also have its drawbacks). So add another health benefit to the list: coffee may help lower the risk of developing oral and pharyngeal cancer and of dying from the disease.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, was conducted using the Cancer Prevention Study II. The large cohort study began in 1982 by the American Cancer Society. Researchers were able to examine 968,432 men and women, none of whom had cancer at the time of their enrollment in the study.

Over the course of the 26 years that the participants were tracked, 868 people died from oral or pharyngeal cancer. Researchers found that the risk of dying from this type of cancer decreased for every cup of coffee that the participants drank a day. The risk plummeted by an average of 49 percent if the participant drank over four cups of coffee a day. This association held true regardless of gender, whether or not the participant smoked, and how often the participant drank alcoholic beverages.

Researchers also found a similar, though smaller, link between drinking two or more cups of decaffeinated coffee. And - sorry, tea drinkers - the risk for oral and pharyngeal cancer held steady for the participants who consumed tea on a regular basis.

"Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers," study author Janet Hildebrand said in a statement. "Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the ten most common cancers in the world. Our finding strengthens the evidence of a possible protective effect of caffeinated coffee in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the mouth and pharynx. It may be of considerable interest to investigate whether coffee consumption can lead to a better prognosis after oral/pharyngeal cancer diagnosis."