Is drinking coffee good for you, or not? It’s a question people have pondered for years, but much of the latest scientific research seems to come down in its favor. That’s right, it is good for you. The studies here show you some of the ways coffee and caffeine have been linked to positive effects on physical and mental health.
Benefits from the Beans
Just like any other food or beverage, coffee beans contain some nutrients. The average cup of coffee can add small amounts of micronutrients, magnesium, and potassium, along with polyphenols which have been shown to enhance some health outcomes.7
Drink up: coffee counts!
Leading health organizations recommend that adults drink 1.5 liters of water per day, and evidence shows that drinking coffee can help meet those needs. Contrary to what people once thought, new research has revealed drinking coffee in moderation (4–5 cups per day) does not cause dehydration.8 In fact, black coffee contains more than 95% water,9 so each cup of coffee you drink gets you closer to the recommendation for proper hydration.
A mug for positive outlook
Could coffee help with a more positive outlook? Recent research regarding coffee, caffeine, and depression suggested a positive association.
In a study of 50,739 women (average age 63 years), those who consumed at least 2–3 cups of caffeinated coffee per day were about 20% less likely to develop depression, compared to those who drank up to one cup of coffee per week.10
Myths about coffee and health
New studies show that some common ideas about coffee and caffeine are actually not true.
Myth: Even small amounts of caffeine are addictive.
Truth: Recent scientific studies using brain scans suggest that moderate coffee drinkers do not develop a physical dependence to caffeine.1,2,3 scientifically speaking, caffeine does not fulfill the criteria defined by the medical community for addiction, especially since it does not act on the centre of pleasure and reward.
Myth: Coffee is bad for cholesterol levels.
Truth: Coffee’s effect on cholesterol levels is largely dependent on the method of brewing. Filtered and soluble coffee are not associated with a significant increase in cholesterol levels, while boiled coffee can raise cholesterol levels.4
Myth: Coffee is bad for cardiovascular health.
Truth: Studies show that moderate coffee consumption is not linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure.5,6
1 Nehlig A et al (2000). Dose-response study of caffeine effects on cerebral functional activity with a specific focus on dependence. Brain Res; 858:71–77.
2 Acquas E et al (2002). Differential effects of caffeine on dopamine and acetylcholine transmission in brain areas of drug-naive and caffeine-pretreated rats. Neuropsychopharmacology; 27:182–193.
3 De Luca MA et al (2007). Caffeine and accumbens shell dopamine. J Neurochem; 103:157–163.
4 Jee SH et al (2001). Coffee consumption and serum lipids: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am j Epidemiol; 153:353–62.
5 Lopez-Garcia E et al. (2011) Coffee consumption and mortality in women with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr; 94 (4):1113–1126.
6 Klatsky AL et al (2011). Coffee, caffeine, and risk of hospitalization for arrhythmias. The Permanente Journal; 15(3): 1519–25.
7 Bhatti SK, O’Keefe JH, Lavie CJ. Coffee and tea: perks for health and longevity? Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Nov;16(6):688–697.
8 Popkin BM et al. (2006). A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 83, 529–542.
9 Kolasa KM et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today 44, 190– 203.
10 Lucas M, et al (2011). Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Arch Intern Med;171:1571–8.