There have been many mixed studies, myths, and general confusion about coffee’s health effects. And why wouldn’t there be? Coffee is a complicated product containing over one thousand chemicals.

Occasionally, coffee has received a bad rap. In 1991 coffee was included in a list of possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization. However, by 2016 it was removed, as research discovered the beverage was not associated with an increased risk of cancer. Quite the opposite. Once smoking history was properly accounted for, they were able to determine that people who drank coffee regularly have a decreased risk of certain cancers.

Coffee hit another speed bump in 2018 when California passed legislation that coffee must bear a cancer warning label. When roasting coffee beans, small amounts of acrylamide are created – the same chemical found on burnt toast. Later in 2019, the warning labels were removed since the amount of acrylamide for roasted coffee is too low to be a carcinogenic risk.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Growing research and studies suggest that when consumed in moderation, coffee can have health benefits. A moderate amount of coffee is generally defined as 3-5 cups a day or on average 400 mg of caffeine.

Cumulative research points towards coffee reducing the following:

  • Parkinson’s disease. The Caffeine itself, not the bean, has shown positive results.
  • Unhealthy livers. Coffee has reduced cirrhosis of the liver. Studies also suggest that coffee improves antioxidant responses and reduces inflammation. This has been helpful for both liver cancer (the third leading cause of cancer death in the world) and colorectal cancer (the fourth-ranking cause of cancer death in the world).
  • Type 2 diabetes. A study found that each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Gallstones. These are reduced especially for men.

Research also suggests that coffee makes other positive contributions:

  • It Provides a large source of antioxidants in the Western Diet.
  • Coffee raises epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in your blood which can prepare your body for extreme physical exertion. 
  • It Can Help You Burn Fat. Almost every commercial fat-burning supplement has caffeine. It’s among a few natural substances proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11% 
  • Studies indicate that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.
  • Coffee contains nutrients – A single cup of coffee has:
    • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
    • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
    • Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
    • Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
  • Coffee can improve a person’s cognitive function: alertness and ability to concentrate including memory, mood, vigilance, reaction times, and general mental function. It has had positive effects on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
  • Mental state. It may have neurological benefits and act as an antidepressant. 

Is Coffee Actually Bad For You?

Take caution. While many studies point to positive health benefits from drinking coffee, human response to coffee or caffeine can vary substantially across individuals. Like many other products that have healthy components to them, it is advised to drink coffee in moderation.

Higher doses of coffee/ caffeine may have negative effects such as stomach irritation, jitteriness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.  Pregnant women are also advised to target less than 200 mg of caffeine daily, equivalent to 2 cups of coffee.

Coffee drinkers need to be careful when adding condiments to their drink.  Condiments may reduce or counter coffee’s healthy attributes. 

Findings also indicate that by Suddenly stopping caffeine intake, people may experience headache, fatigue, anxiety, and low mood for a few days persisting for up to a week. 

Well, there you have it. Depending on your own body or circumstances, you can sip your favorite drink knowing there are subsequent health benefits.