As I write this I am looking forward to my morning latte. I have only been a coffee drinker for three years, but I have come to love the morning ritual. There’s something so comforting about hugging a cup of creamy, bitter goodness as I make my way to work. It’s one of those little luxuries that I can’t live without.
My enthusiasm for coffee got me thinking about the nutrition benefits. Like others, I feel more energetic and attentive after a hit of caffeine, but what does the research say?
Here are 6 reasons why drinking coffee (in moderation) is good for you:
No surprises here! Several studies that caffeine produces a noticeable increase in mental alertness and vigilance, which can be particularly helpful when you’re struggling to wake up .
#2: Protection against Alzheimer's disease.
Studies show that drinking 1-2 cups coffee/ day may protect against Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline with aging . Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease of the brain, which affects memory and other cognitive functions.
#3: Endurance performance.
Consuming 3-6mg of caffeine/kg prior to exercise has been shown to boost performance in endurance events. This equates to roughly 2-4 cups of brewed coffee prior to exercise for a 70 kg (154 lb) person. The caveat is that the benefits of caffeine for endurance appear to decrease with tolerance, so a ‘washout period’ is recommended prior to taking caffeine for endurance performance for the greatest benefits .
#4: Metabolism booster.
Caffeine appears to produce a small bump in energy expenditure after consumption, although the magnitude of this effect remains unclear . This is another benefit that may impacted by caffeine tolerance, as well as weight, and sex.
#5: Type 2 diabetes prevention.
Studies show that habitual coffee consumption between 1-7 cups/d has a favorable effect on type 2 diabetes risk . Interestingly enough, both decaf and caffeinated coffee have been shown to offer protection against diabetes. However, seven cups is a sizable swig of coffee to consume in a day, and may come with some unpleasant side effects such as gastrointestinal distress, anxiety and palpitations.
#6: Protection against some forms of cancer.
Coffee appears to offer protection against endometrial and liver cancer, although the exact mechanism remains unclear [4,5]. There's much to learn about this one!
Up to 3 cups of coffee/day appears to be safe for most, and offers benefits such as alertness, a bump in energy expenditure and protection against Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. To get the most out of coffee, keep the sweeteners to a minimum, and enjoy plain or with a dash of reduced-fat milk. Pregnant women, those with hypertension, and the elderly may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of coffee-drinking such as palpitation, and anxiety, and are advised to moderate their caffeine intake accordingly.
Cheers to coffee and all of it's wonderful benefits. I am off to get my morning latte!
 Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Sea-Air-Land. Lieberman HR, Tharion WJ, Shukitt-Hale B, Speckman KL, Tulley R. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002 Nov;164(3):250-61. Epub 2002 Sep 5
 Coffee and health: a review of recent human research. Higdon JV, Frei B. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(2):101-23. Review.
 The Effects of Preexercise Caffeinated Coffee Ingestion on Endurance Performance: An Evidence-Based Review. Higgins S, Straight CR, Lewis RD.Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2016 Jun;26(3):221-39. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2015-0147. Epub 2015 Nov 16.
 Coffee consumption and risk of endometrial cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Zhou Q, Luo ML, Li H, Li M, Zhou JG. Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 25;5:13410
 Coffee and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Bravi F, Tavani A, Bosetti C, Boffetta P, La Vecchia C. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2016 Apr 22. [Epub ahead of print].