Is Coffee Good for You?

Research has linked coffee to a reduced risk of many illnesses

(RxWiki News) Most people probably wouldn't stop drinking coffee if they found out it was bad for them, but the good news is that lots of research has found that coffee is, in fact, good for you.

Multiple studies in recent years have found evidence that coffee may reduce your risk of a long list of illnesses and health conditions. Some notable examples include a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones, cirrhosis, melanoma, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and even depression and suicide.

On top of the link between coffee and a reduced risk for multiple diseases, the drink has also been linked to a reduced risk of death overall. The amount of coffee consumed in each study varies, but drinking an average of around four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee per day has been linked to a 15 percent reduction in the risk of death from any cause.

While the general consensus of coffee research seems to point to positive outcomes, some researchers believe coffee can be a part of a healthy overall lifestyle but shouldn't be recommended to prevent illness. While the research around the health effects of coffee appears to suggest that coffee prevents diseases, it actually only points out a link between drinking coffee and a lower risk of certain health problems. Other factors could contribute to this link.

With all the positives surrounding coffee consumption, there are some potential negatives. For one thing, coffee's key active ingredient, caffeine, can lead to sleep problems. Everyone processes caffeine differently, but for some, getting too much caffeine can lead to insomnia and sleep disturbances.

But caffeine is only one of many chemicals in coffee. Coffee also contains antioxidants and polyphenols. Both of these substances have been linked to reduced cancer risks, and antioxidants appear to have anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit your heart health.

Keep in mind, however, that the benefits of coffee are tied to coffee itself — not the things we like to add to it. Foods like sugar and heavy cream pack a lot of calories and can have damaging effects on heart health when not used in moderation.

While there is some potential bad that comes with the apparent good, coffee has been tied time and time again to positive health effects. Still, it's important to speak with your health care provider before significantly changing your coffee or caffeine intake.

The studies referenced above were summarized in a recent article from The New York Times.