Whether you have a five-cup-a-day habit or only drink it occasionally, you've probably read about the negative effects of coffee on the body. It might have been scary enough to keep you off of it and look for alternatives to get your energy and concentration levels up throughout the day. But you know that quitting coffee (and caffeine) can be tough, especially when you're so used to your daily dose of the stuff. Caffeine withdrawals are real not exactly pretty.
But coffee and caffeine can get a bad rap sometimes. How much you consume will determine if it's good or bad for your health. Moderation is key here (and isn't that the case for everything?).
For healthy adults, the FDA says that consuming 400 milligrams a day (that's about four to five cups) is not associated with dangerous, negative effects. The guideline is general, the FDA notes, as everyone has different sensitivities to caffeine and how they metabolize it. And if you have some conditions, like you're taking certain medication or you're pregnant, you should check with your doctor on the recommended amount of consumption.
So now that you know that coffee and caffeine aren't all that bad, when consumed in moderation and with your own body's reaction to it in mind, we're here to tell you that there are some benefits to drinking coffee. Take a look at what we found out below, according to science. It's important to know, though, that much research still needs to be done on the health benefits, but many studies have delivered promising results.
Ups Your Energy Levels
Although this fact is pretty well-known, we had to include it. A cup of coffee can leave you energized, focused, and with a clear head. "Caffeine binds to something called adenosine receptors," One Medical's Jessica Bushy, FNP, told us. "By binding to these receptors, the adenosine in our brain can no longer bind or fit there. The natural effect adenosine typically has on our brain is that it makes us tired. However, since it's the caffeine that's now at that receptor site, it doesn't slow things down like adenosine would but actually wakes things up."
Can Make You Live Longer
Recent studies have found a link between coffee and decreased mortality. A 2015 study in Circulation found that higher consumption of coffee was associated with lower risk of mortality. Although the study authors couldn't find a direct cause-effect relationship between coffee and mortality, the findings suggest that coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
Another 2017 study in the journal BMJ found that drinking coffee is "more likely to benefit health than harm it." The authors in that study maintained that it's a benefit if consumed in moderation but that there may be some harm involved if you're pregnant or a woman at risk of fracture.
Protection Against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases
There have been a couple of studies that looked at the link between coffee and the risks of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. One recent 2018 study suggests that coffee consumption might decrease the risk of both diseases. They found that a group of compounds found in coffee—phenylindanes—have some kind of effect on warding off cognitive decline. And the darker the roast, the more protective it is. The authors did caution that more research needs to be done.
Protection Against Cardiovascular Diseases
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, coffee consumption can decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke. Studies have found that drinking one to two cups of coffee a day can help ward off heart failure, while at least one cup can lower stroke risk for women.
Enhance Exercise Performance
You already know exercise is very important for a healthy lifestyle—and coffee can help when you're feeling sluggish. According to One Medical, research has shown that coffee can help fight fatigue, which in turn will help you exercise more. It can also strengthen muscle contraction, reduce pain perception, and increase fatty acids in the blood to enhance performance.
It's Good for Your Liver
A 2017 study in the Journal of Hepatology found that drinking coffee or herbal tea may prevent the hardening of the liver and has the potential to prevent advanced liver disease.
Reduces the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes