What if you could start each day with a delicious drink that sharpens your focus, improves your energy, and even lowers your risk of disease? Well, two-thirds of us already do—it’s coffee! That cup of joe is so much more than pure joy in a favorite mug.

U.S. coffee drinking is at an all-time high—83 percent of us drink it, and 63 percent of us drink coffee each and every day, NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends say. That’s millions of cups a year! Talk about the best part of waking up!

Today, any hip coffee lover will spill the beans about drip: the filtered type is only the tip of the caffeinated iceberg. Today’s hottest styles include cold brew, K-cups, French press, espresso drinks, nitrogen infused and frozen blended treats. We have more options than ever, and they’re fueling our frenzy!

Health helper

No matter how your cup is styled up, decades of research show that the drink full of complex compounds can protect your health. Coffee drinkers are less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.1 Studies also show that coffee can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and respiratory diseases. It even helps protect women from endometrial cancer, men from a lethal form of prostate cancer, and shows benefit with other cancers.

For how much we love coffee, it’s a good thing it delivers heart help. A huge study of over 37,000 people showed that moderate coffee drinking could reduce your risk of heart disease. A different study found it could help lower blood pressure, too. Another one that studied over 83,000 women showed that regular drinking was related to a reduction in stroke risk. Caffeinated coffee may also prevent gallstones, and be associated with less risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.2

Power drink

Coffee is chock full of antioxidants, which delay or stop cell damage. Our favorite morning drink is the single biggest source of antioxidants in our daily diets, about 64 percent of our total intake.3 These powerful acids help cut disease risk, and may improve insulin sensitivity and lower diabetes risk.

A few studies have shown a link between caffeinated coffee drinking and lowered rates of depression.4 Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and may also act as a mild antidepressant, boosting production of “feel good” brain chemicals.5

For the body, the caffeine in coffee can also boost our energy and strength. This works for not only daily tasks, but for intense exercise. Athletes have found that coffee lets them train longer and with greater power.

Getting your order right

Drinking coffee is not a cure-all for preventing disease or staying in tip-top shape. It must be part of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle, drank in moderation. That means putting the pot away after you’ve poured four or five regular sized cups during the day. Too much coffee will make you nervous and jittery, and can give you an upset stomach and sleeping problems.

Black coffee is a low calorie drink: eight ounces has only two calories. But adding milk or cream and sugar can add hundreds of extra calories a day. Notice what your local café puts in those giant fancy drinks: sugar syrups, whipped topping, whole milk. These blended treats are more like desserts than drinks! Too many sugary add-ons will hijack your diet and impact the health benefits of coffee.

Drink your coffee (mostly) plain, and make plenty of room for other fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Wake up and smell the coffee, guilt-free!

1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/moderate-coffee-drinking-may-lower-risk-of-premature-death/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182054
3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-worlds-biggest-source-of-antioxidants#section3
4. https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/mood-disorders/does-coffee-and-caffeine-lower-risk-of-depression/article/485602/
5. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/07/drinking-coffee-may-reduce-risk-of-suicide-by-50

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