Ever have a significant other or friend say “again?” when you reach for your third or fourth cup of coffee? Well, here’s good news for coffee drinkers everywhere: Having a daily coffee habit may actually be a good thing.
Coffee is one of the most plentiful and consistent sources of cell-protecting antioxidants, says Dana Angelo White, RD, an athletic trainer in Fairfield, Connecticut. According to a 2014 study in Antioxidants, coffee is a major source of antioxidants in the Western diet. Nieves says a cup of coffee contains more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich compounds.
Daily antioxidant consumption reduces inflammation. Most of coffee's reported health benefits rely on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, says Devje. Reduced inflammation...? A 2017 review study in Annual Review of Nutrition found that coffee consumption reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Observational studies link coffee consumption to a lower risk of breast, colorectal, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancers, says Devje. 4-5 cups of coffee a day was linked to a lower risk of some cancers, but "the data is observational," Devje warns.
Some research suggests coffee reduces the risk of bipolar disorder. A Harvard study with more than 50,000 women found that women who drank moderate amounts of coffee had a lower risk of depression. Women who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had a lower risk of depression than those who drank one or fewer cups per week.
Anyone with a family history of heart problems: Coffee reduces heart disease risk. Circulation found the most benefit at three to five cups a day. Coffee may also reduce heart disease risk. The American Heart Association found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of heart failure and stroke by 7% and 8%, respectively, compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Devje says caffeine improves attention and alertness. Coffee may improve concentration, but not creativity, according to a March 2020 study. In the study, 80 people were given a 200-milligram caffeine pill or a placebo. Researchers found caffeine improved problem-solving, idea-generation, working memory, and mood.