February 8, 2021
Whether it’s hot, iced, black, or taken with cream and sugar, coffee is a beloved beverage in the USA. In fact, 62% of Americans over 18, about 155 million people, drink it every day.1 But more than just a tasty caffeinated drink, coffee offers a variety of health benefits that make that extra cup totally worth it.
Bean Boost: The Benefits of Drinking Coffee
An extra burst of energy is the most well-known benefit of drinking coffee – and the caffeine found within coffee certainly can help you get through a long day at work, a video chat with family or just keep up with your energetic kiddos. But caffeine is good for other reasons too: it’s been shown to help improve memory, mood, reaction times and general mental function. Studies have also indicated that consuming caffeine, even in doses smaller than those found in coffee, may improve mental alertness.2
Coffee might not be a superfood, but it still packs an antioxidant punch. The average cup of coffee contains vitamins B2, B3, and B5, as well as magnesium and potassium. These vitamins and minerals help your body perform many functions, like breaking down fat, building protein, regulating blood sugar, and even creating and repairing DNA. In fact, research shows that some people’s bodies get more antioxidants from drinking coffee than eating fruits and vegetables.3 But that doesn’t mean you should skip the salad – instead, try pairing it with an iced coffee. Now that’s having your coffee and drinking it, too.
Not only can coffee help put a pep in your step, but it can also lend a hand to your heart. Research suggests that sipping one to two cups of coffee per day may help decrease your risk of heart failure and reduce the chance of coronary heart disease, which occurs when deposits of fat restrict blood flow to the heart.4
Coffee is the bean that keeps on giving. Drinking coffee may help also reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease, by up to 65 percent according to research.5 While there’s still more data to be taken into account, it’s helpful to know that your daily cup is likely doing some good.
As it turns out, all that energy from coffee helps more than just your mind – it helps your muscles, too. Drinking a strong cup of joe about half an hour before heading to the gym can lead to increased energy that may help you set a personal record or feel stronger for your typical routine. For the average person, coffee will help increase physical performance by 11-12%.6
How Much Coffee Can I Drink Per Day?
Whether you’re still nursing your first cup from this morning or slurping down your fifth mug, there’s no such thing as too much coffee, right? Well, not exactly. On average, most people can safely consume three to five 8 oz. cups of coffee per day, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day from all caffeinated beverages. Like most things, coffee should be consumed in moderation. If you drink too much coffee, you might even experience some side effects from the increased caffeine intake, such as an increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, anxiety or trouble falling asleep. Before increasing your daily coffee intake, be sure to chat with your doctor about how much caffeine you should be consuming each day.
Should I Drink Coffee on a Regular Basis?
While the jury is still out on how coffee specifically helps prevent certain diseases, current research suggests that coffee is one of the most beneficial beverages to drink and is safe to sip regularly. Still, one important factor to keep in mind is how you choose to drink your coffee. As you’ve probably guessed, black coffee is the healthiest option, coming in at only five calories per cup. Cream and sugar can certainly make for a tasty drink – who doesn’t love a good latte – but too much can quickly add lots of sugar and fat to your diet, especially if you’re drinking more than one cup. If you like a little bit of coffee with your cream and sugar, try adding a little less of both each day until you find your new sweet spot. Or if you’re getting your favorite fancy drink before work, skip the whipped cream and other toppings and opt for a low-fat or fat-free dairy choice.
MedExpress Pro Tip: Take a sip of your coffee before you add any fixings, then add a little less cream and sugar than usual. Chances are it will taste just as sweet and creamy. Trust us!
Whether you’re a one-and-done drinker, or a multi-cup coffee aficionado, this delicious drink can help keep you focused and potentially contribute to better athletic, mental, and cardiac performance.
1 National Coffee Association: NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee. Last updated March 26, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021.
2 Psychopharmacology: The effects of low doses of caffeine on human performance and mood. Last updated July 1987. Accessed January 7, 2021.
3 The Journal of Nutrition: Intakes of antioxidants in coffee, wine, and vegetables are correlated with plasma carotenoids in humans. Last updated March 2004. Accessed January 7, 2021.
4 Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source: Coffee. Accessed January 14, 2021.
5 Movement Disorders: Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society: Caffeine and risk of Parkinson's disease in a large cohort of men and women. Last updated August 27, 2012. Accessed January 14, 2021.
6 International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis. Last updated December 2004. Accessed January 7, 2021.