Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world — for good reason. It wakes us up, helps us stay on task, and provides an oft-needed energy boost.
And most of us in the Americas and Europe get our caffeine fix from coffee.
But people often worry that they should limit their coffee consumption or cut it out completely. That’s probably because coffee can feel like a crutch.
It is possible to overdo it on caffeine —many heavy coffee drinkers surpass the recommended limit of 400 mg of caffeine per day, and that can cause insomnia, restlessness, or a fast heartbeat, especially if consumed too fast.
But most research on coffee consumption indicates that coffee is not bad for us, and is associated with some pretty impressive health benefits.
In most cases we can’t say that coffee actually causes health benefits — the causal mechanism is unclear. But research does suggest that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from certain illnesses.
There are plenty of foods and drinks that most of us should consume less. But here’s why coffee shouldn’t be on that list.
Liver health: A review that combined the results of nine studies found that drinking more coffee is associated with lower risk for cirrhosis.
In the review, drinking one cup of coffee per day was shown to be linked with a 22% reduced risk for cirrhosis, a liver disease that is often caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Two daily cups were associated with a 43% reduced risk, three cups with 57% reduced risk, and four cups with 65% reduced risk.
Heart disease: A review of more than 200 studies found that people who drank three or four cups of coffee per day were 19% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 diabetes: One large review of studies found that every additional cup of coffee one drinks per day was correlated with a 7% reduced risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine