Not too long ago, many Americans considered drinking coffee a nutritional vice. Today however, we know that a daily cup (or more!) of joe can offers multiple health perks.

In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that you can enjoy up to five cups of coffee a day—and that it may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and much more.

The health benefits of coffee come from its caffeine content as well as its natural antioxidants. Coffee and tea provide more antioxidants in the U.S. diet than any other plant-based foods.

What’s more, new research has linked coffee consumption with increased longevity. In one study, people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower risk of premature death compared to those who didn’t drink coffee.

Another study looked at coffee-drinking among more than 500,000 adults from 10 European countries. The researchers found that drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death from digestive, circulatory and liver disease, regardless of country.

While these findings offer great news for coffee fans, it’s important to remember that not all coffee drinks are created equal. Although black coffee has virtually zero calories, some of the sweet and creamy coffee drinks can pack in hundreds of calories and exceed daily limits for saturated fat.

If you don’t like your coffee black, try adding non-fat or low-fat milk or milk alternatives. I recently switched to unsweetened almond milk for my morning brew – it has 15 calories per half cup. (Just 2 tablespoons of half and half has 40 calories.) Also, don’t turn your coffee into a dessert by adding heaps of sugar. Limit caloric sweeteners to 1 tsp.

Finally, be mindful of how your body reacts to caffeine. While the research shows health benefits for up to five 8-ounce cups a day, studies show that more than 400 milligrams of caffeine can interfere with sleep and create feelings of unease for some people.

According to the USDA, regular, brewed coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. However many factors can influence the amount of caffeine in your brew. Also, caffeine can take many hours to metabolize, so for some, it’s better to limit coffee consumption (and tea or other caffeinated beverages) to before noon.

​This article is from Katherine Brooking: a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Columbia University. She is dedicated to helping people achieve better health and richer lives through sound nutrition and healthy lifestyles. She is a frequent nutrition expert for national broadcast programs and co-creator of the blog

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Femi Oshin
Femi Oshin 184 posts

Femi Oshin is a publisher at and Producer /Presenter of Agogo Ayo on Africa Magic Yoruba.

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