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This Exact Amount of Coffee Can Lower Your Risk of Disease, Says Dietitian

Coffee can be one of the best parts of your morning—maybe even the very reason you find the motivation to get out of bed and get going.

Fortunately for all the coffee-lovers out there, it is not only safe to drink moderate amounts of coffee, but it has actually been known to have many surprisingly positive benefits to our health.

We talked with Frankie Phillips, PhD, RD, a registered dietitian with a doctorate in nutrition, about the numerous health benefits of coffee and how many cups per day studies have found to be associated with a healthier life.

Continue reading to learn more, and for even more on the health benefits of coffee, make sure to check out The Final Verdict on Whether or Not Coffee Is Healthy For You.


How much coffee should you drink to lower your risk of disease?

"More research is still being done in these areas, but drinking coffee in moderation (3-5 cups per day) has been known to have an impact on a lower risk of disease, namely heart disease, and possibly on blood pressure and type 2 diabetes," says Dr. Phillips.

The FDA has said it's safe to drink up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (unless you're pregnant, in which the suggested limits change).

For reference, here is approximately how much caffeine is in some of your favorite coffee drinks:

  • Brewed Coffee (8 ounces) has about 96 milligrams of caffeine.
  • A single espresso has about 64 milligrams.
  • A tall Starbucks cold brew has about 150 milligrams.

While 3 to 5 cups per day are okay for the average adult, it's important to pay attention to how your body feels in case you may be more sensitive to caffeine. If you've had too much caffeine, you may experience things like jitters, nausea, headaches, or symptoms of anxiety.

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Coffee can lower your risk of disease

Drinking multiple cups of coffee each day has actually been linked to a decrease in risk of diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

For example, in one meta-analysis of over 30 different caffeine-related studies, it was found that people who drank between 3-5 cups of coffee daily had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who had zero cups of coffee by 15%. In another meta-analysis, it was found that those who had around 3 cups of coffee per day lowered their risk of death by cardiovascular disease by 21%.

Based on these studies, the amount of coffee to drink per day to lower your risk of disease is 3-5 cups.

And according to Harvard School of Public Health, those who regularly consume coffee every day had a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn't drink it at all.

In a recent interview, Dr. Phillips tells Coffee Friend that "many of the benefits of drinking coffee may be due to the caffeine it contains, but there is increasing interest in the antioxidants present that might have beneficial anti-inflammatory and other useful effects."


Coffee can also improve brain health

black coffee

Along with lowering your risk of disease, coffee has been known to also help with your brain health.

"Drinking coffee in moderation has been linked to improvements in alertness and energy levels, as well as cognitive function, and supporting better brain function," says Dr. Phillips, "and while more research is still needed, there are interesting links between coffee drinking and improvements in neurodegenerative conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease."

RELATED: The #1 Best Diet for Dementia, Says Science


Coffee can help with weight management

black coffee

Drinking moderate amounts of coffee has also been linked to weight loss and better weight management.

According to Dr. Phillips, "the caffeine content of coffee can have a beneficial influence on metabolism by helping to boost metabolic rate, and it's possible that there may be some impact on weight management and fat-burning oxidation as well."


Healthiest ways to drink coffee

black coffee

And while the number of cups can make it an impact, it's also important to focus on how you drink your coffee as well!

"To make the most of your healthy cup of coffee, try drinking it without adding sugar or flavored syrups and use low-fat or skim milk instead of cream or full-fat milk," says Dr. Phillips.

It's of course okay to treat yourself to your favorite PSL from time to time, but choosing healthier ways of drinking coffee can help improve your overall daily health.

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