Why Drinking Coffee Is Good for You, 27 Health Benefits!

Between 50 to 80 percent of all Americans drink at least two cups of coffee a day (1, 2).

business woman holding cup of coffee

Coffee may wake you up in the morning and keep you warm on a cold day. It’s also good for your health.

Researchers have been discovering more and more benefits when it comes to various ways that coffee can improve your health.

This is what they have found. Now go and sip on a cup of Joe while you peruse the evidence.

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2​​7 ​Health Benefits of ​Coffee

The following are 27 evidence-based health benefits of drinking coffee:

1. Coffee Is Packed With Beneficial Nutrients

Although it doesn’t seem like much goes into a cup of coffee, it is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Some of the important nutrients found in a cup of black coffee are (3):

  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% DV – necessary for the body to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins from food and support healthy skin (4).
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% DV – helps the body metabolize proteins, produce red blood cells and grow properly (5).
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 2% DV – can reduce the risk of heart attack, prevent plaque buildup in the arteries and lower the amount of fatty substances in the blood (6).
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): 2% DV – helps metabolize sugar and supports nerve and heart health (7).
  • Potassium: 3% DV – supports the balance of sodium in the body, helps flush toxins and improves communications between cells (8).
  • Manganese: 3% DV – helps support bone health, correct anemia, and improve symptoms of PMS (9).
  • Magnesium: 3% DV – vital for regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, creating muscle, bone and DNA and controlling muscle and nerve operation (10).

KEY POINT: If you drink several cups of coffee a day, you’ll consume about 10% of the recommended daily value for many vitamins and minerals.

In addition, you’ll get a heaping inflow of antioxidants.

​2. Coffee Can Improve Your Mind

Businesswoman holding a light bulb to demonstrate coffee made her smarter

Coffee might actually improve your brain function and make you more intelligent.

Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant that can help you become more mentally alert.

In the brain, caffeine binds to the same receptors that normally attract the neurotransmitter adenosine.

Adenosine encourages sleep and decreases alertness (14).

In normal, healthy humans, adenosine actually causes the neurons to fire less frequently and release fewer neurotransmitters, the signals that the nervous system uses to communicate (15).

By effectively blocking the receptors for this neurotransmitter, caffeine can increase communication within the neurons in the brain.

Caffeine also encourages the discharge of noradrenaline, also called norepinephrine, neurons and dopamine (16).  

Dopamine is considered to regulate cognitive skills like motor planning, abstract reasoning, intellectual flexibility and sequential analysis (17).

Norepinephrine is also crucial for brain function (18).

Many researchers have studied the ways caffeine affects the brain.

Studies show that caffeine can improve responsiveness, memory, attentiveness, and mental function (19).​

KEY POINT: Caffeine blocks a inhiitory neurotransmitter that makes you tired and less alert.

It can improve cognitive skills like remembering, reasoning, and analyzing.

​3. Many supplements designed to help people lose weight contain caffeine.

When you drink caffeinated coffee, your metabolic rate increases (20)​.

Metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns calories.  In studies caffeine boosted metabolic rate by 3-11% (97, 98).

Caffeine can also boost fat oxidation, especially in lean individuals (21, 22).

The body burns energy by combining oxygen and fuel.

Increased oxidation of fatty acids means that the body uses more of its fat stores for energy as opposed to other sources, like carbohydrates.

Exercise and calorie restriction can also increase the oxidation of fatty acids (23).

However, for people who already eat right and exercise and maintain a healthy body weight, it’s convenient to be able to burn more fat without adjusting diet and exercise regimens.

KEY POINT: Caffeine increases metabolism and helps the body use fat for energy.

​4. Caffeine Can Make You More Athletic

two business man, one drinking coffee, and the other rowing on machine

Researchers have studied the correlation between caffeine and athletic performance for decades.

Athletes often consume caffeine to improve their mental and physical capacity (24).

As fatty acids are oxidized, you typically have more energy even though you feel as though you don’t have to work as hard (25)​.

This energy boost may result from the blocked adenosine receptors or the increased catecholamines in the bloodstream, which help the body better handle exercise-induced stress (26).

The improvements in performance also be traced to the improved neurotransmitter communication associated with caffeine (27)​.

When your nerves are firing more frequently and efficiently, the entire body’s performance is optimized.

In one meta-analysis, researchers found that caffeine consumption improved the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) after exercise that was constant and intense.

While it did not improve the RPE after exhausting exercise, caffeine consumption prior to exercise did improve the RPE while the participants were exercising (28)​.

Indeed, caffeine may improve athletic performance by as much as 11-12% on average (24). 

KEY POINT: Coffee can improve athletic performance and endurance.

Plus, you may feel as though you’re not exerting yourself as much even when you’re working harder.

​5. Coffee Might Reduce Your Chance of Getting Type 2 Diabetes

diabetic testing blood sugar

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

Your body due to insulin resistance isn’t able to produce the high amount of insulin to metabolize the glucose in your blood, leaving you with high blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of diabetes.

Having too much glucose in the blood over a long period of time can damage blood vessels and prevent oxygen and nutrients from being delivered to different parts of the body.

This can increase your risk for other conditions, such as neuropathy and stroke.

While eating less sugar and staying active can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, many studies have also found links between coffee or tea consumption and reduced risk of the disease.

Overall studies found drinking coffee reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes ​by 7% to 67% (29, 30, 31, 32, 97, 98).

One study conducted in Singapore found that even drinking one cup of coffee per day can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 14%.

Participants in this study who drank four or more cups of coffee a day cut their risk of developing the disease by 30% (29).

A European study found that people who drank at least three cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of diabetes by more than 40% (30)​.

In one North American study, participants who drank more than 12 cups a day lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 67% (31)​.

Coffee’s effect on type 2 diabetes risk doesn’t just boil down to caffeine.

Some of the other compounds in coffee that have been considered as potentially affecting the risk of diabetes are antioxidants, magnesium and phenol chlorogenic acid (32).

KEY POINT: Drinking coffee can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The more you drink, the more you reduce the risk.

​6. Coffee May Make You Less Likely to Develop Dementia

smiling elderly man drinking coffee and reading newspaper

Coffee may also protect your brain from degenerative disorders as you get older.

The lifetime risk for a 55-year-old woman to develop dementia is 33% (99). 

Dementia is on the rise, and currently there are no preventative measures which are proven to be effective, nor is there a cure.

There is however evidence that certain compounds may help to combat this deadly disease which robs the mind of its faculties. 

Xanthines are compounds that have been found to treat Alzheimer’s.

Propentofylline is one new agent that has been studied for its use in treating dementia, largely due to its inhibition of adenosine uptake (33).

Caffeine is another xanthine that has similar effects (34).

One study looked at the amount of coffee that was consumed by people with Alzheimer’s within the 20 years before their diagnosis.

That study found that people with the disease were less likely to have consumed as much caffeine within those years, and their intake continued to decline after diagnosis (35)​.

Astonishingly, this same research found that coffee drinkers may have a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

KEY POINT: As you age, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases.

However, coffee consumption throughout your life may potentially protect you from this disease.

​7. Coffee Might Improve the Health of Your Liver

Male liver anatomy with digestive organs

The liver is responsible for carrying out a multitude of bodily functions.

It is crucial for digestion and the removal of toxins from the blood.  

Two conditions that can be detrimental to the liver are cirrhosis and cancer.

Some diseases and lifestyle choices can lead to the development of cirrhosis of the liver.

According to the American Liver Foundation, cirrhosis is a condition in which dead scar tissue replaces healthy material in the liver.

As this occurs, the liver begins to die, losing its ability to function properly.

Several studies have found that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of cirrhosis.

People with cirrhosis have elevated liver enzymes. Individuals who drink coffee, however, have less of this enzyme in the blood (41)​.

In many studies, the question has arisen as to whether it was the caffeine or another property in coffee that held the health-boosting properties.

An Italian study that controlled for caffeine found that only coffee had the protective effect.

Other caffeine-containing beverages did not lower the risk of cirrhosis in the participants (42)​.

Even in individuals with other unhealthy habits that can lead to the development of cirrhosis, drinking coffee can still lower the risk (43)​. 

Those who drink 4 cups of coffee or more every day can achieve the strongest risk reduction.  The reduction may be as high as 80%. 

KEY POINT: Coffee can help protect your liver from cirrhosis, although experts aren’t sure which ingredient in the beverage holds the health benefits.

​8. Coffee is Good For Your Heart

Heart shaped with coffee beans

You may have heard that coffee can trigger a heart attack (50).

However, many studies point to coffee’s benefits for cardiovascular health.

Coffee can improve muscle tone in your veins and arteries (51).

Smooth, healthy arterial muscles can promote adequate blood flow.

Drinking ​one to five cups of coffee every day may also prevent atherosclerosis, plaque buildup in the arteries.

One study found that people who didn’t drink coffee had more calcium deposits, which can indicate plaque buildup, in their arteries than moderate coffee drinkers (53).

A 2013 study found that drinking coffee (54):

  • does not increase blood pressure in the long term;
  • may reduce the risk for arrhythmia; and
  • can lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.

​Some studies show coffee drinkers have up to 20% reduced risk of getting a stroke (52, 100).

Although more research is needed and lifestyle choices can greatly affect cardiovascular health, these studies show promise for coffee drinkers and heart health.

KEY POINT: Although the link between coffee and cardiovascular well-being has been controversial, many studies point to coffee’s benefit for heart health.

​9. Coffee May Help You Live Longer

The idea that coffee may be good for you has long been debated (55).

As a teenager, you may have heard adults tell you that coffee would stunt your growth.

However, some of these findings need to be put in perspective.

Researchers have found that coffee does not increase the risk of dying, and the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks in most cases.

In fact, one study found that there is a possibility that coffee consumption can actually reduce the risk of death even in people with cardiovascular disease (56)​.

That study demonstrates a lowered risk of death of 20% for men and 26% for women.

​A study by National Institutes of Health involving 229,119 men and 173,141 women of the ages 50 to 71 years old, looked at their coffee drinking habits and mortality over 12-13 years (102).

​It also concluded that coffee consumption lowered the risk of total and cause-specific deaths​: 

coffee consumption reduced death risk graph

In this particular study, the optimum amount of coffee for reduced risk is between 4 to 5 cups a day, with a reduced risk of 12% for men and 16% reduced risk for women.

​Researchers have indicated that the antioxidants in coffee may actually help you live longer. 

One study showed that postmenopausal women who drank one to three cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease by 25% (57).

People with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of dying by 30% by being long-term coffee drinkers (58)​. 

Coffee’s benefits for mental, cardiovascular and liver health can also help you live longer.

KEY POINT: Drinking coffee can help you not only ward off potentially fatal diseases but also lower your risk of death attributed to inflammatory conditions.

​10. Reduce Your Chances of Getting Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is another common condition that affects the elderly.

Although medical experts aren’t sure what causes the disease, they do know that it is linked to the depletion of dopamine in certain areas of the brain (36)​.

Many studies have been conducted to examine the correlation between caffeine intake and Parkinson’s disease, but researchers have come up with inconclusive findings.

One study found that caffeine intake lowers Parkinson’s risk in men but not in women who take postmenopausal estrogens (37). 

However, many studies have concluded that drinking coffee may decrease the risk of Parkinson’s by up to 60% (38, 39, 40).

KEY POINT: Drinking more coffee may reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease significantly.  

​​​​​11. Drinking coffee may lower your risk for certain forms of cancer.

coffee beans in cup

Previously I talked about how coffee may help to protect you from cirrhosis of the liver. 

Cirrhosis isn’t the only condition associated with poor liver health.

Approximately 30,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer in the U.S. every year (44).

Primary liver cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in the world (45).

Cirrhosis can lead to liver cancer, as can other conditions like hepatitis B. 

One meta-analysis reported that individuals who drink more than two cups of coffee a day may reduce their risk of liver cancer by about 43% (46)​.

Many other studies strongly support the findings that coffee is linked with a decrease in liver cancer (47, 48, 49).

There are also studies which indicate that coffee may be able to reduce the risk of malignant melanoma (73).

In the linked study above, it was found that those who consumed four or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% reduced risk for developing malignant melanoma.

Furthermore, increasing coffee intake may decrease the risk of oral cancer (77), endometrial cancer (78), prostate cancer (79), brain tumors (80), and colorectal cancer (81). 

This is quite an astonishing range of cancers.

KEY POINT: Cancer is a pervasive and deadly disease.  While there is no surefire cure for cancer, there is evidence that drinking more coffee may help to protect you from developing a variety of different types of cancers.  

These include liver cancer, malignant melanoma, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, oral cancer, colorectal cancer and brain tumors.

​12. It is possible that drinking coffee can improve your long-term memory.

Businessman wearing sticky notes

I have already discussed certain ways in which coffee may be able to contribute to your mental alertness and boost your analytical abilities. 

Now let’s look at another area where drinking coffee may lead to cognitive improvements, and that is with respect to long-term memory.

One study (60) conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that memory consolidation and recollection is enhanced by caffeine for a period of at least 24 hours following consumption.

In short, if you are busy studying up for that final exam tomorrow and need a boost in remembering those calculus formulas, drinking some coffee while you are studying could theoretically make it easier to remember those formulas and pass your test the next day.

Of course, coffee alone will not be sufficient to ace that exam.  

And you should make sure you do not drink it too close to bed, as missing out on sleep could compromise your exam scores.

KEY POINT: Few studies have looked into the effects of caffeine on long-term memories.  

There is however some initial evidence which suggests that caffeine may be helpful in memory storage and recall.  

So consider sipping on some coffee the next time you need to memorize information.

​​​​​13. Improve brain chemistry.

Scientists have found that brain chemistry improves through caffeine.  Caffeine can result in an increase (61) in a growth hormone called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). 

When you have more BDNF in your brain, your brain is able to develop new neurons.

This can lead to overall improvements in brain function and health.

Incidentally, low BDNF is a factor associated with both depression (see below) and Alzheimer’s (62, 63).

This may be another mechanism through which drinking coffee appears to help prevent dementia.

KEY POINT: Drinking more coffee may result in higher BDNF levels in the brain.  

This helps to improve brain function in the present and potentially protects it in the future.

​14. Reduce depression.

Woman enjoying a cup of coffee at the cafe

Have you ever felt less depressed after drinking a cup of coffee?

It turns out you may not have been imagining this effect.

This study (64) by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee had a 20% lower risk of depression than those who drank limited amounts of caffeine or no caffeine.

The researchers were following up on a previous prospective study which found a potential link in men as well between decreased coffee intake and increased depression risk (101).

As previously mentioned, caffeine increases BDNF levels.

As low BDNF is involved with depression, higher BDNF levels may be associated with a lower risk for developing it.

Perhaps a cup of coffee (or four) a day can help keep the blues away. 

KEY POINT: Research indicates that drinking more caffeine is associated with a lower risk for depression.  

Coffee may have a stabilizing effect on mood.

​15. Reduce your odds of developing multiple sclerosis.

Research (65) has been conducted to determine whether there is a connection between risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) and coffee intake.

The linked study looked at data from two population-based case-control studies from the United States and Sweden.

The researchers discovered that participants who consumed high amounts of coffee had reduced chances of developing multiple sclerosis.

They hypothesized that the mechanism for this may involve caffeine’s neuroprotective effects, including the suppression of cytokine production.

KEY POINT: High coffee intake may lead to reduced chances of MS.

​16. Drinking more coffee can improve blood flow.

You already know that coffee is good for your heart.  But did you know it can also improve the function of your blood vessels?

This small double-blind, placebo-controlled study (66) assessed finger blood flow using Doppler flowmetry in participants who were either assigned to drink caffeinated or un-caffeinated coffee.

The researchers wrote that “these results provide the first evidence that caffeine contained in a cup of coffee enhances microvascular function in healthy individuals.”

Improvements of 30% for the group that drank the caffeine were observed to last for more than 75 minutes. 

More research is warranted given these hopeful results.

KEY POINT: Early research shows that coffee may improve blood flow through the mechanism of caffeine.

​17. Possibly reduce your risk of being hospitalized for arrhythmia.

Medical personnel with a stethoscope

You may have heard that coffee - and more specifically caffeine​ - can increase your risk of heart arrhythmias.

Actually, there is scientific evidence (67) that the reverse may be the case.  This study found that there was an inverse relationship between caffeine intake and hospitalization for arrhythmias. 

Note that this data is correlative in nature, and does not prove a causal link between the two.

It does serve as an indication that caffeine in moderation is ​"highly​" unlikely to increase your chances of dangerous arrhythmias. 

It also may point toward a causal connection, but more research is required to say whether that is indeed the case.

KEY POINT: While there is no data yet establishing caffeine intake as an effective preventative for arrhythmias, initial research hints toward the possibility.  

It also casts doubt on the previous assumption that drinking coffee can increase arrhythmia risk.

​18. Reduce your risk of heart failure.

Let’s talk about another specific cardiovascular benefit of drinking more coffee - the prevention of heart failure.

In this (68) review and meta-analysis, it was found that ​"Moderate coffee consumption is inversely associated with risk of heart failure, with the largest inverse association observed for consumption of 4 servings per day.​"

That is a pretty awesome benefit for drinking coffee!

KEY POINT: Drinking coffee on a regular basis may help to drop your odds of heart failure.

​19. Reduce the perception of pain during workouts.

Previously I mentioned that drinking coffee may help to improve athleticism.

Exhausted woman sitting on tire in crossfit gym

Researchers have found (70) that the caffeine in coffee may also reduce pain intensity from training by up to 48%. 

So if muscle soreness holds you back when you are exercising, you might try drinking more coffee. 

You may very well find it easier to get motivated and stay motivated to work out.

KEY POINT: Research demonstrates that the caffeine contained in coffee could help to reduce the perception of muscle soreness during exercise.

​20. Recover from your workouts more quickly.

Another benefit of coffee for athletes is in the area of recovery.

When you exercise, your body depletes glycogen, since this is the primary fuel source used by your muscles when you are working out.

Studies show (71) that if you take in caffeine and carbohydrates after working out, your body may replenish that glycogen more rapidly.

In fact, four hours after exercising, athletes who consumed caffeine with carbs had 66% more glycogen content in their muscles compared to those who only consumed carbs.

KEY POINT: Not only can coffee boost your athletic performance, it can also feasibly help you recover faster.  

​21. Possibly preserve your eye health.

close up of womans eye which is healthy because of coffee

Specifically, coffee may help to prevent retinal degradation, according to this (72) research. 

This effect appears to be due not the presence of caffeine, but rather the chlorogenic acid (CLA) contained in coffee.

​In the study, nitric acid was used to create oxidation in the retinas of mice.  

The unfortunate mice who were not given CLA in advance developed retinal damage, while those that were treated with CLA were protected from it.

Could this be a viable preventative measure in humans?  More research will be needed in order to establish whether that might be the case.

KEY POINT: The CLA in coffee may help to prevent retinal damage, protecting eye health.

​22. Reduce cellulite.

Cellulite is a cosmetic condition, not a health threat, but it can impact self-image, and that does affect your overall well-being.

Research has been conducted on products for treating cellulite which contain caffeine as part of their formula (74).

These products have been shown to be effective in reducing cellulite with contrast to a placebo.

Keep in mind that it is common for these trials to be on products which also contain other ingredients. 

For example, the product tested above also contained retinol and ruscogenine.

As such, it is hard to establish for certain whether caffeine is indeed the ingredient responsible for the cellulite reduction. 

KEY POINT: ​A topical application of caffeine in conjunction with other helpful ingredients may be effective in counteracting cellulite.  

While cellulite is not really a ​"disease​" per se, improving your appearance may lead to an increase in positive self-image.

​23. Fight the effects of aging.

Face of woman before and after retouch

Coffee is also one of the largest dietary suppliers of antioxidants.

It contains more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables and some vitamin supplements (11, 12, 13)​.

Oxidative stress is known to play a major role in the development of many diseases as we age (75).

This means that healthy beverages such as coffee which are rich in antioxidants can help to reduce oxidative stress in our bodies, effectively preventing a range of health conditions associated with aging.

KEY POINT: While nothing can hold back the march of time, it may be possible to reduce the effects of age on our bodies.  

To do this, we need to consume foods and beverages which are rich in antioxidants - like coffee.  

​24. Reduce the risk of gout in men.

One very large study (76) looked at 45,869 men who initially had no history of gout to see whether the intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee would have any impact on their later development of gout.

The men were studied for 12 years.  It was found that "long-term coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of incident gout."

KEY POINT: A large study on men showed that it may be possible to reduce the risk of developing gout by drinking coffee over the long-term.

​25. Improve the integrity of your DNA.

Fascinatingly enough, coffee actually turns out to be good your DNA, the very building blocks of your body. 

This study (82) found that a dark roast coffee blend reduced the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks. 

This means that drinking more coffee can lead to improvements in DNA’s structural integrity.

KEY POINT: You can even make your DNA healthier and stronger by drinking coffee.

​26. Coffee is surprisingly good for your teeth.

Woman's open mouth smiling

Coffee is acidic, so you would think that it would be bad for the enamel of your teeth, right?

Actually, the opposite may be true.  In this (83) study, it was found that drinking coffee without additives can decrease the prevalence of dental cavities.

Avoiding additives like sugar is important, because sugar can cause dental cavities (not to mention other health problems).

KEY POINT: Coffee can be good for your teeth so long as you drink it without adding anything to it.

​27. Coffee can also be helpful in combating periodontal bone loss.

The benefits of coffee for dental health go beyond teeth and extend to your periodontal bones as well.

In this (84) study, it was discovered that drinking coffee may provide a protective effect against periodontal disease.

Specifically, 1,152 veterans were tracked over a thirty year period starting in 1968 and ending in 1998. 

It was found that those who drank more coffee had a lower incidence of periodontal bone loss.

Additionally, the researchers found no evidence to support the notion that coffee is bad for periodontal health. 

KEY POINT: Coffee drinkers actually may suffer from less periodontal bone loss than non-coffee drinkers.  

So drink up and enjoy the health benefits.

​Can Coffee Be Bad For You?

woman drinking cup of coffee

Anything consumed in excess can be detrimental to your health

Even drinking too much water can be bad for you (59).

Many specialty coffee drinks sold at coffee shops don’t even contain real coffee.

Instead, they’re packed with sugars and chemicals that can detract from coffee’s health-boosting benefits.

If you do add anything to your coffee, stick with minimally processed additions, like coconut milk or organic heavy cream.

If you drink several cups of coffee a day, don’t load up on the sugar, either.

KEY POINT: Coffee can be bad for you if it contains additives which are bad for you.  So long as you avoid this, you are enjoying a healthy beverage.

​Wait, Doesn’t Caffeine Increase Blood Pressure?

Great question.  Yes, the intake of caffeine has been shown to cause an increase in blood pressure. 

This effect has been observed even in people who are healthy.

Age or sex seems to be irrelevant with this increase.  It has been observed in men and women, in the young and in the old. 

Thankfully it tends to be only around 5-10 mmHg (91).

The effect tends to be most pronounced for those who already have elevated blood pressure. 

Using blood pressure lowering medications does not reduce the effect (92, 93).

As of this point, scientists do not fully understand why blood pressure sometimes increases when imbibing caffeine. 

Cup with coffee beans inside, surrounded by cut and sphygmomanometer for measuring blood pressure.

The mechanism may involve an increase of adrenaline and/or another hormone being blocked.

Fascinatingly enough, however, it appears that drinking coffee may minimize this particular effect of caffeine.

Consider this (69) study, which looked at whether coffee increases the risk of hypertension.

The researchers analyzed data from 16 different randomized, controlled studies.  In total, 1,010 subjects were involved.

The conclusion was that ​"Regular caffeine intake increases BP.

When ingested through coffee, however, the blood pressure effect of caffeine is small.​"

In other words, yes, taking caffeine can increase your blood pressure.  But when in the form of coffee, that effect is minimal. 

So if you are concerned about hypertension, coffee is probably one of the healthier ways for you to take caffeine.

There is other good news as well. 

Researchers have found that the increase in blood pressure is only temporary. 

In fact, it seems that blood pressure is raised for only around 3 hours.  After that, it dips back down to normal levels (94).

KEY POINT: Caffeine does increase blood pressure, but the effect is minimized in coffee.  

Furthermore, it appears that the increase takes the form of a brief spike.

​After several hours, blood pressure returns to normal.  

​What About the Dangers of Acrylamide?

Another potential issue with drinking coffee is exposure to a carcinogenic neurotoxin called ​"acrylamide.​"

This is a legitimate concern, because coffee is one of the most common ways in which acrylamide is ingested (95).

Acrylamide is not present in the same levels in all forms of coffee however. It tends to be most common in coffee substitutes, followed by instant coffee.  

It is least concentrated in natural coffee which has been brewed using beans which have been properly roasted (96).

Thankfully, the amount of acrylamide contained in coffee does not seem to pose a significant risk to human health (97).

If you are still concerned about acrylamide, I urge you to read my article, Acrylamide in Coffee: Cancer and Heart Disease Risk?

In that article, I delve into the issue of acrylamide in coffee in detail.

I also touch on the matter of acrylamide in my article on instant coffee

Instant coffee has a number of pros and cons, so be sure to read through the entire article to learn them all.

KEY POINT: Drinking coffee does expose you to a carcinogenic neurotoxin known as acrylamide.  

Studies show however that the threat to human health is likely insubstantial, and greatly outweighed by the benefits. 

If you want to minimize your exposure to acrylamide, stick with coffee brewed from roasted beans with no artificial additives.  

Avoid coffee substitutes, which contain the highest amounts of acrylamide.

​Is There Anyone Who Should Not Drink Coffee?

Pregnant woman drinking tea in kitchen

For most people, coffee is certainly a safe, healthy, beneficial beverage.

But there are some people who should consider avoiding it.

If you are pregnant, you can drink coffee, but you should make sure that you moderate your intake.

The reason is that an association has been found between coffee-drinking during pregnancy and stillbirths.

Thankfully, this association has only been found with very high amounts of coffee.

In this study (85), pregnant women who drank eight cups of coffee or more daily were at double the risk of stillbirths as pregnant women who drank no coffee.

Obviously this risk is simply not worth it, so you should curb your coffee drinking while you are pregnant.

You should also consider talking to a doctor before drinking coffee if you are on certain medications.

These include certain thyroid medications, antibiotics, antifungal drugs and antidepressants.

KEY POINT: If you are pregnant or taking certain medications, you should not overindulge in coffee.  For most people however, coffee is safe.

​Suggestions For Preparing Healthy, Delicious Coffee At Home

  • Always filter your coffee.  Doing this creates a smooth consistency, but it also helps to remove substances such as cafestol and kahweol, which can be harmful to your health. 
  • Buy coffee grounds that do not have added flavors in them.  Usually these additives are artificial, and not good for you.
  • For health purposes, medium roast coffees are usually considered ideal.  The reason is that this level of roasting keeps phenol loss to a minimum (89).  Of course, if you prefer other roasts, you should drink them and enjoy them.  They still have substantial health benefits. 
  • If you are up for something a little different from your standard automatic brew, think about making Turkish or Greek style coffee.  You need some special supplies for this such as a small metal container called a "briki,​" but the health benefits of preparing coffee this way are documented (86).
  • Another great way to prepare coffee is using a French press.  This is how I make my coffee.  It is extremely fast and easy, and produces smooth, delicious results.  I’ve found it to be very cost-effective.
  • Choose coffee beans which are especially effective for your condition where possible.  For example, Blue Mountain, Yunnan and Kilimanjaro beans have been found (87) to be among the most effective when it comes to reducing blood clot risk.  So do some research into your condition to see what is likeliest to produce the best results for you.
  • If you are trying to lose weight, you might be interested in raw coffee (as opposed to roasted coffee).  Raw coffee is a source of green coffee extract, which can be used to promote weight loss (88).  It is however higher in acrylamide than roasted coffee. 

KEY POINT: Think carefully about the type of coffee you buy and how you prepare it.  It makes a difference both in terms of enjoyment and health benefits.  

​A Word on Caffeine Dependency

Closeup portrait, headshot grumpy, unhappy, annoyed funny looking, tired, woman, asking where is my coffee, holding empty cup up side down, isolated white background. Human face expressions, attitude. Caffeine addiction concept.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that you should not go overboard with coffee consumption. 

Those who consume coffee on a regular basis are sometimes susceptible to rebound headaches and other withdrawal symptoms if they reduce their coffee intake (90).

Note that it does not necessarily take huge amounts of caffeine in order to create dependency and the risk of withdrawal symptoms. 

For some people even 100 mg of caffeine each day is enough.

So if you are new to drinking coffee, you might want to start gradually and see what amount you can tolerate without developing dependency. 

If you are in any doubt, you can always drink it sporadically throughout the week. 

This usually is enough to prevent rebound headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.

Many people also can drink multiple cups a day without any issues. 

KEY POINT: Many people can enjoy multiple cups of coffee every day without developing dependency, but others may find that even a cup a day causes it.  

Just be mindful of this and make sure that you are drinking coffee in an amount appropriate for your body.

​Take Home Message

People who drink more coffee often have a lower risk of developing certain diseases and conditions than others.

Much of the negative information you might have ready about coffee may be unfounded.

Some studies are controversial or require more intensive research. However, in general, it’s clear that coffee has numerous benefits for your health.

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  • Updated August 27, 2018

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Thanks for discussing the benefits of drinking coffee. My brother loves drinking coffee but he needs always go out to purchase one. My mom suggested buying a coffee maker and shared this article with him.

I also thought coffee was just plain bad, and didn’t know there were any benefits to drinking coffee at all–funny, no one ever mentioned the many studies that show coffee drinkers experience health benefits!

I thought it was interesting that you said “long term coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of incident gout”. Gout runs in my family so I was intrigued by this study and think it’s a great everyday way to prevent this from happening. I know that it won’t help those in my family since the study was for those who had no history of it, but it is still a nice preventative measure for those who don’t have it.

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