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Is coffee good for you?

By The Health News Team | May 17, 2024
Woman drinking coffee

Whether it’s that hot delicious cup of goodness to start your morning or the cold caffeinated energy boost to get you through the day, coffee is a universally loved beverage. In 2024, it was reported that 73% of Americans drink coffee every day. That means millions of Americans are drinking the beloved brew, but many may not be aware of the associated health benefits and risks.

Everyone enjoys coffee differently. The amount of sugar, sweetener, creamer or milk may vary person to person. An 8-ounce cup of coffee typically has 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. And contrary to popular belief, decaffeinated coffee actually contains 2 to 15 milligrams of caffeine.

Coffee has an abundance of healthy chemical compounds that are good for the body. These compounds may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer and cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, the caffeine in coffee may negatively affect the health of some individuals.

Here’s what drinking coffee may do for you:


According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), 38 million Americans have diabetes, and around 90% to 95% of those people have Type 2 diabetes, when blood glucose, or blood sugar, is too high. Insulin, made by cells in the pancreas, help move the glucose from the blood stream to the body’s cells to make energy.

When a person has Type 2 diabetes, their body does not make enough insulin or the body’s cells are resistant to insulin, causing too much sugar to stay in their blood stream. Being a regular coffee drinker may help the pancreas function as it should.

In fact, a recent study revealed that individuals who increased the amount of coffee they drank by more than one cup — described as 8 ounces, either black or with a small amount of milk or sugar — over a four-year span reduced their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 11% compared to people who maintained their coffee habits. And the results were similar for both drinkers of caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee.

Heart Health

Coffee is typically associated with increased heart rate, but two to three cups a day may be good for the heart. According to one study, moderate coffee intake is linked to a lower risk of death from any cause, including hypertension, cholesterol issues, heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

On the other hand, drinking coffee is also known to increase blood pressure in adults, especially in those who don’t regularly drink it. People who have high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke, and drink two or more cups of coffee double their risk of cardiovascular disease-related death compared to those who don’t drink coffee, the American Heart Association reports.

Dementia and Alzheimer's

Drinking three to five cups of coffee daily during a person’s midlife — the early 40s to early 60s — was linked to a 65% lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in later life, according to a study on cardiovascular risk factors, aging and dementia. This may be due to the caffeine and antioxidant properties in coffee and the effects coffee has on insulin production and processing.

Parkinson’s Disease

A study concluded that caffeine is associated with a low risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, in healthy individuals. Caffeine has also been proven to slow the progress of motor symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement, in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The importance of finding balance

Whether you enjoy coffee occasionally or incorporate it into your daily routine, it’s important to balance out your habit with other aspects of your lifestyle. This includes eating a well-rounded diet, engaging in regular exercise and managing a healthy weight.

What’s more, everyone reacts to caffeine differently, so understanding your own tolerance is vital. Too much caffeine may raise blood pressure, anxiety, heart palpitations and lead to trouble sleeping.

Drinking coffee in moderation is key, experts say. Drinking no more than four cups of coffee should give you the energy you need to get you through the day, while potentially maximizing health benefits.

Talk with your doctor if you are unsure whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Together, you can determine the right amount of caffeine for you and whether other lifestyle choices should be reviewed.

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