Ah, coffee. If you're like us, I'm sure just hearing the word warms a part of your soul.
Coffee is a deeply ingrained part of many cultures around the world. And, since it is so prevalent, so is the research surrounding it.
Many, many studies across the board show coffee is actually healthy and can help reduce your risk of developing many diseases, including liver disease and even neurological diseases like Parkinson's.
There is one question that seems to go relatively unanswered around coffee though: how much should you drink?
After all, too much caffeine can have negative effects, but too little coffee may not result in the benefits shown in studies.
Here, we break it down for you.
First Things First: Is Coffee Healthy?
As we mentioned, most research shows coffee is very healthy.
Coffee beans are bursting with over 1,000 antioxidants (yes, 1,000!), plus several nutrients and beneficial compounds, including magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin.
These antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and can help prevent damage to DNA (which is also good news for aging). Some of the polyphenol antioxidants have even been found in studies to possibly prevent a number of conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. [*][*][*]
Another fun fact: interestingly, researchers state that the highest source of these antioxidants in the human diet is from coffee! This is likely because more people tend to consume coffee everyday versus other high-antioxidant foods, making it a steady source for most humans.
Coffee Also Helps With Fat Burning
As if its antioxidant benefits weren't enough, coffee has shown a pretty impressive ability to help boost metabolism and improve physical performance.
How Much Coffee Should You Drink?
Now, down to the nitty gritty: how much coffee should you actually be drinking?
On average, people tend to consume around 1-2 cups per day. However, this is normal "drip-style" coffee; in countries like Europe, where concentrated espresso is common, the intake may be a bit more due to this difference.
For simplicity's sake though, it appears many of the positive effects of coffee in studies is observed when participants are drinking 1-4 cups per day. When considering the fat loss and performance studies, we're leaning toward 3-4.
Now, this doesn't mean that you have to drink that many cups to see a benefit. Many people will get a great, beneficial dose just with one cup in the a.m. And, on the flipside, many people may actually be putting stress on their bodies by consuming more than 3-4 cups per day (we get into that below).
Ideally, a good range to be in is the 1-4 cup range. If you're there and feel good, awesome! If you have a feeling coffee might be causing more than the jitters, read below.
When Should You Not Drink Coffee?
For all of coffee's benefits, the fact remains that some people may be sensitive to caffeine.
Since caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, it does cause the release of hormones and neurotransmitters like epinephrine, which are also released during "fight-or-flight" mode.
These hormones can tax your body, especially if you're already under stress or if you have adrenal or thyroid issues.
In these cases, it's best to steer clear of coffee (or switch to decaf), at least until stress and/or your adrenal health is under control.
You can also try cutting fully-caffeinated coffee with decaf to "dilute" it, which works for many people who don't do well on the full hit of caffeine, but still love the experience and antioxidants.
Overall, the consensus is that coffee is generally healthy, and that drinking up to 3-4 cups a day should be as well.
Do you have any coffee experiences to share? We'd love to hear them below!