Scientists Have Pinpointed the Ideal Amount of Coffee to Drink Each Day

Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with health benefits.

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Photo by: Sezer Alcinkaya ©Sezer Alcinkaya

Sezer Alcinkaya, Sezer Alcinkaya

If you’ve ever wondered what is precisely the ideal amount of coffee to consume each day, researchers have worked to pinpoint the answer: three, maybe four cups. Not two. Not five.

I’ll pause here to let you go fill your mug …

Back? Great. The 2015-2020 DGA states, “Moderate coffee consumption (three to five 8-oz cups/day or providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns.”  Over in the U.K., a group of researchers who published their findings in The BMJ crunched the numbers in more than 200 meta-analyses — most of them of observational research — and concluded that the health benefits of drinking coffee outweigh any drawbacks. (Phew.) They also determined that drinking three to four cups a day is most beneficial of all, associated with a lower risk of death, heart disease and stroke.

Compared to people who don’t drink coffee at all, people who drink three cups of coffee a day had a 19 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a 16 percent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease and a 30 percent lower risk of dying from a stroke, the authors found. Drinking more coffee than that was not found to be detrimental to health, but the benefits were less obvious, according to the researchers.

Coffee drinking in general was also linked to a lower risk of certain kinds of cancer (prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer among them), diabetes, gallstones and gout and may have had a beneficial association with Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Women who are pregnant, however, should avoid taking in more than 200 milligrams a day. And at least one expert responding to the study has cautioned that, while coffee drinking is generally considered safe, it’s probably not something people need to start doing for health reasons. What’s more, loading your coffee up with sugar and cream is definitely not great for your health.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Photo: iStock

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