Updated: Jul 2
Ah, coffee. Whether cradling a mug RIGHT NOW, on your way to work, or dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it's hard to imagine a day without it. The caffeine perks you up, and there's something incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe.
But is drinking coffee good for you?
Good news: The coffee case is stronger than ever. Study after study indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage than you thought: Coffee is full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women than men, including Alzheimer's disease and heart disease.
Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease, say nutrition experts from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
What are the top health benefits of drinking coffee? Your brew gives you benefits beyond an energy boost. Here are the top ways coffee can positively impact your health.
Your body may process glucose (or sugar) better: That's the theory behind studies that found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
You are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease: Caffeine is not only linked to a lower chance of developing Parkinson's disease, but it may also help those with the condition better control their movements.
Your liver will thank you: Both regular and decaf coffee seems to have a protective effect on your liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don't drink coffee.
Your DNA will be stronger: Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer or tumors if not repaired by your cells.
Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down: One in 23 women develops colon cancer. But researchers found that coffee drinkers — decaf or regular — were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer's disease: Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease are women. But the caffeine in two cups of coffee may significantly protect against developing the condition. Researchers found that women aged 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop dementia in general.
You're not as likely to suffer a stroke: For women, drinking at least one cup of coffee daily is associated with lower stroke risk, the fourth leading cause of death in women.
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How much coffee is safe for women to drink each day? It's true. You can have too much of a good thing. Excessive intake of caffeinated coffee can make you jittery and cause:
Increased heart rate
Raised blood pressure
Trouble falling asleep
So how much coffee is optimal to drink to get all the benefits but avoid the negative side effects?
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it's safe for most women to drink three to five cups of coffee daily with a maximum intake of 400 milligrams of caffeine. (Caffeine content can vary depending on the type of coffee, but an average 8-ounce cup has 95 milligrams.)
But if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, the rules are different. Check with your obstetrician before adding caffeine to your diet. If coffee gives you the jitters, don't overdo it: Caffeine tolerance is different for everyone. You can still get some potential health benefits by drinking one cup of coffee daily or even decaf.
Also, remember that what you add to your coffee can make a difference in how healthy the beverage is. Instead of loading up on cream and sugar, try adding up to two tablespoons of milk, milk substitute, or half-and-half, and using naturally sweet spices and flavorings. Try stirring in a ¼ teaspoon of the following for extra flavor:
While coffee is a pleasurable part of your lifestyle, other factors, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight, impact your health. But drinking coffee is a delightful addition to those key health factors.
Johns Hopkins nutritionists share a recipe for a healthy iced pumpkin spice "latte" smoothie.
Quick & Healthy Coffee Recipe
Iced Pumpkin Spice "Latte" Smoothie Blend all ingredients to create a seasonally-inspired drink. Using real pumpkin adds beneficial fiber.
1 cup coffee
½ cup milk of your choice (such as unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk, skim, or 1% milk)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup canned plain pumpkin
4 ice cubes
Try to limit added sugar as much as you can! If you MUST add sweetener, try pure maple syrup in a small quantity- start with 1 teaspoon.