Coffee, the healthy indulgence
Coffee is one of life’s rarest gifts: a pleasure that’s good for you.
Why it matters: Most things we indulge in — desserts, cocktails, fried food — aren’t the healthiest for us. But coffee is like a delicious cup of caffeinated medicine.
Oh, let us count the ways it helps us. It...
- Lengthens your life.
- Reduces the risk of dementia.
- Reduces the risk of stroke and heart failure.
- Protects against Type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and liver disease.
- Boosts your mood, especially during wintertime when we have fewer hours of daylight.
The big picture: What surprised us most about coffee's benefits is that they seem to apply to all sorts of coffee drinkers.
- A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that those who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day — even sweetened with sugar — were 29% to 31% less likely to die than non-drinkers, Axios' Tina Reed writes.
- Another recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at people who drank one cup a day and those who drank a whopping eight cups a day, and also those who drank regular vs. decaf. Researchers found that all of them had a lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers.
Yes, but: Know the limits.
- Doctors typically recommend staying under 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is around four cups — or two mugs — of regular coffee. Teens should drink less.
- Beware of when you drink your coffee. Caffeine too late in the day will disrupt the quantity and quality of your sleep, which can lead to its own health problems.
- And beware of what you put in your coffee. Yes, a little cream and sugar is fine, but frappuccinos and macchiatos will quickly add to your daily calories.
- Brew matters. Not all coffee preparations are the same. Unfiltered coffee — such as coffee made with a French press — has been linked to higher cholesterol levels.
- Got more coffee questions? Send them to us at [email protected], and we'll get them answered.
The bottom line: We so rarely get a pass to enjoy something guilt-free. Coffee is one of the great universal pleasures, enjoyed across cultures from the U.S. to Norway, from Ethiopia to Vietnam and beyond.
Editor's note: This story originally published on June 1.