If any of you are like me, your day doesn’t actually start until you’ve had your morning cup of coffee. There have been numerous studies that have studied whether coffee is good for your health. And like most studies, researchers have gone back and forth on the matter. Fortunately for all of us coffee enthusiasts, the most recent studies show that coffee is good for you and may also play a role in reducing your risk of some diseases.
A 1995-1996 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute revealed that a higher rate of coffee intake was associated with a slight decrease in the risk of melanoma. The study found that those who consumed the highest amount of coffee had a 20 percent lower risk of malignant melanoma. However, these finding are preliminary and require further studies. So don’t forego protecting your skin just because you drink large amounts of coffee.
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2015 revealed that coffee could lower the risk of coronary artery disease. The participants of the study were clinically free of any apparent cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the trial. The moderate consumption of coffee was associated with a lower prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis.
The results of another study that was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012 showed that the consumption of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The study followed participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS, 1984–2008) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS, 1986–2008).
The health benefits associated with drinking coffee are likely a result of the ingredients in coffee. Coffee contains chemicals, such as lignans and cholorogenic acid that may reduce inflammation and help control blood sugar levels. Both of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Word of caution for all coffee drinkers: how you take your coffee matters. To gain the most benefit from your cup of coffee, it’s best to drink it black. Depending on what you add to your coffee, it can quickly become a calorie or sugar bomb in your diet. Adding creams and flavors to your coffee also adds extra sugar and calories. In fact, some of your favorite coffee house drinks can contain 25 teaspoons of sugar. That is three times more sugar than one can of Coke and more than three times the daily intake amount recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) for adults. Consuming this much sugar at once can cause rapid rise and fall rates of sugar levels in the bloodstream, which can be bad for your health.
It not only matters what you are putting in your coffee but also how much you are drinking. For healthy adults, the recommended amount of caffeine is up to 400 mg (milligrams) per day, which is about the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. Tolerance to caffeine varies from person to person, so listen to your body—it will tell you if you are giving it too much caffeine.