Three cups of coffee a day may help people with chronic kidney disease live longer, new research suggests.

The study found those who drank plenty of the beverage slashed their risk of dying by a quarter.

One or two cups also increased the participants chances of survival by 12 and 22 per cent, respectively, compared to those who never touched it.

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Portuguese researchers believe their results suggest advising patients with chronic kidney disease to drink more coffee.

Dr Miguele Bigotte Vieira, of North Lisbon Hospital Centre, said:

‘These results suggest advising patients with chronic kidney disease to drink more caffeine may reduce their mortality.’

Kidney disease affects nearly two million in the UK, and five million have been diagnosed in the US. It is most common among the elderly.

Patients are at a much higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke as the condition leads to the accumulation of fatty deposits in arteries.

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Described as a ‘silent killer’ because awareness is low, it can also lead to kidney failure.

The new findings were presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week conference in New Orleans.

Is caffeine safe? 

European health officials state adults should consume not more than 400mg of caffeine each day Рthe equivalent to four mugs of instant coffee.

A huge review conducted by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) in April confirmed this amount of caffeine was safe on a daily basis.

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Any more can endanger health because the high amounts of caffeine can lead to restlessness, and even muscle tremors.