It seems that all of the things we love turn against us when consumed in excess – sweets, french fries, cocktails, reality television... But is coffee one of these vices as well? As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite: recent research indicates that in most cases, the more coffee, the better!
While we have all likely experienced the negative side effects of drinking one too many cups of joe, these are usually limited to the jitters or a restless night’s sleep. The negative effects of coffee are short-term and not incredibly serious. On the positive side, a daily coffee habit is linked to preventing a surprising amount of serious ailments! The evidence isn’t yet concrete enough for scientists to claim that drinking coffee definitely extends one’s lifespan, but several studies have shown an inverse correlation between daily coffee consumption and one’s chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, liver issues, dementia, and certain forms of cancer. Articles from Forbes, the Independent, and the Atlantic explain these benefits in greater detail.
Coffee contains two of nature’s marvels that do the body good: the first is caffeine, which excites the brain and makes us active, but coffee contains an atom bomb of antioxidants as well. According to this article from HealthLine, antioxidants are the molecules that combat free radicals within the body. This article explains the concept in detail, but the basics are that free radicals are unstable and can damage cells, and antioxidants donate electrons to stabilize them and keep cells healthy. In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the Western diet. Although it is still important to eat fruits and vegetables because these have different sets of antioxidants than coffee, many people obtain most of their antioxidants from coffee and tea.
The consensus is that about four cups of coffee a day reaps the most benefit. If you find that the caffeine makes you too jumpy, switch to decaf! It contains just as many antioxidants as regular and won’t make you anxious. The only way to offset coffee's many benefits would be to add too much cream and sugar, so be careful with the Venti Mocha Frappes, but don’t feel too bad – it’s still technically coffee.