Ah, coffee. My pride and joy — the reason I get out of bed. But, what if it’s actually causing you to stay out of bed, even when you need to wake up in, say, a mere five hours? We’ve heard back-and-forth banter about whether or not it’s a myth that coffee is good for you and offers a whole array of health benefits.

The health impacts of coffee have long been a controversial topic, as there are two sides to every story. Pro-coffee connoisseurs promote coffee’s antioxidants, while those on the other side name the downsides, such as insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Fear not: drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought. Well, it all comes down to what’s in your coffee, how much you drink, and when you drink it.

Three to Five Cups A Day Is Okay

Grab that java! A study of 25,000 participants in South Korea found that moderate daily consumption of coffee, or three to five cups, is correlated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium. The middle of the ground, four cups of coffee, was also found to reduce one’s risk of melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. A high amount of coffee consumption, or four to six cups a day, reduced coffee-sippers risks of getting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Before you start downing your fifth cup today, be sure to drop the cream and sugar. Drinking coffee with a loaded amount of cream and sugar and calling it “healthy” is the equivalent to deep frying potatoes and calling it healthy. (French fries for health!) If you can’t stand drinking completely black coffee, opt for a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar. Just keep it to a minimum and be sure to choose all-natural sugar as opposed to artificial sweeteners.

Coffee Reduces Depression

Many studies conducted have linked coffee consumption to lower rates of depression in both men and women.  In several studies, the data suggested a relationship between coffee consumption and depression: in other words, heavy coffee drinkers seemed to have the lowest risk (up to 20 percent) of depression.

Coffee Lessens Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes. A review of research conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu showed that the risk of type II diabetes decreases by 9% for each daily cup of coffee consumed.

Your Liver Loves Coffee

Aside from actually lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis of the liver. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed an inverse relationship between increased coffee consumption and a decreased risk of cirrhosis, or a 20 percent reduction for each cup consumed (when consumed up to four cups).

Final Tip: Grab Decaf after 2 P.M.

We all know coffee is a stimulant just like soda, energy drinks, and some teas — that’s why we enjoy drinking it so much to stay alert. But be sure to keep an eye on the clock when you’re going for that afternoon coffee as you should stop drinking coffee about ten hours before you go to bed to reduce any sleeping issues. (No one likes waking up in the morning exhausted; it affects performance, happiness, and alertness.)

If you keep it to a minimum, drink your coffee in its (mostly) pure form, and watch the clock, you can see the many health benefits of consuming coffee. Just remember, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, try and reduce your caffeine consumption even more.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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