Story at a glance

  • People have consumed coffee for hundreds of years, although for much of that time little was known about its health effects.
  • In recent years, researchers have found many health benefits to drinking coffee — both with and without caffeine.
  • A new study finds that drinking three to five cups of coffee daily is associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases.

It seems like every few years science has something new to say about whether coffee is good or bad for you. But a recent analysis of past research found that the evidence is pretty overwhelming: Three to five cups of coffee a day could keep death away — at least a little longer. 

“These periodic scares have given the public a very distorted view,” said Walter C. Willett, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the New York Times. “Overall, despite various concerns that have cropped up over the years, coffee is remarkably safe and has a number of important potential benefits.”


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While coffee can have short term effects on epinephrine levels and blood pressure, the study found that there was no substantial long-term risk of hypertension. In fact, some types of filtered coffee and espresso-based coffee could help control serum cholesterol levels, and the study found an "inverse" relationship between coffee consumption and coronary artery disease, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes. 

Other studies have linked coffee consumption with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones and several types of cancer — as well as Parkinson's disease. Much of these are associated with caffeine — so decaf drinkers might be out of luck. 


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As with most food and drink, however, moderation is key, the study warns, and excessive consumption of caffeine has been associated with problems with sleep, anxiety and hydration as well as addiction. Some people can be more sensitive to caffeine than others, so be sure to monitor your reaction and effect on your metabolism.

“Current evidence does not warrant recommending caffeine or coffee intake for disease prevention but suggests that for adults who are not pregnant or lactating and do not have specific health conditions, moderate consumption of coffee or tea can be part of a healthy lifestyle,” the authors said. 


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Published on Jun 15, 2021