Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. In fact, people in Western countries get more antioxidants from coffee than fruits and vegetables combined (, , 3).
Various studies show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of many serious — and even fatal — diseases.
Though most of this research is observational and cannot prove that coffee caused these beneficial effects, the evidence nonetheless suggests that — at the very least — coffee isn’t something to be feared.
Here are 6 graphs that may convince you that drinking coffee is a good idea.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin.
A review of 18 studies with a total of 457,922 participants found that coffee consumption was linked to a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes ().
According to this review, each daily cup of coffee may lower your risk of this condition by 7%. People who drank 3–4 cups per day had a 24% lower risk.
This is an important finding given that type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest health problems in the world, currently affecting more than 300 million people.
SUMMARY Multiple studies have shown that coffee drinkers are at a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes, one of the biggest health problems in the world.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.
One study found that people who drank coffee had a 65% lower risk of this condition ().
As you can see from the graph, people drinking 2 cups or less per days and those exceeding 5 cups have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those consuming 3–5 cups daily.
This may suggest that 3–5 cups of coffee per day is the optimal range.
Many other studies have had similar findings (11, ).
Alzheimer's disease is currently incurable, making prevention incredibly important.
SUMMARY Coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world.
Coffee appears to be highly beneficial for your liver.
Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to an 80% lower risk of cirrhosis, a liver disease in which liver tissue has been replaced with scar tissue (, 14).
What’s more, coffee appears to lower your risk of liver cancer — the second most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
In a study from Japan, people who drank 2–4 cups of coffee per day had a 43% lower risk of this type of cancer. Those who drank 5 or more cups had a 76% reduced risk ().
Other studies have observed the same protective effects of coffee against liver cancer ().
SUMMARY Coffee appears to have major benefits for liver health. Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of cirrhosis, as well as liver cancer — the second most common cause of cancer death worldwide.
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide. It’s characterized by the death of dopamine-generating cells in the brain.
In a major review study, people who drank 3 cups of coffee per day had a 29% lower risk of Parkinson's disease. Yet, going up to 5 cups per day had very little additional benefit ().
It's important to note that in the case of Parkinson's, the caffeine itself appears to be responsible. Decaffeinated coffee doesn't seem to have any protective effect ().
SUMMARY Numerous studies show that people who drink caffeinated coffee — but not decaf — have a lower risk of Parkinson's disease.
Depression is a common and serious mental disorder that can lead to a drastically reduced quality of life.
About 4.1% of people in the United States meet the criteria for clinical depression.
In one study, people who drank coffee were 20% less likely to become depressed ().
When it comes to suicide, coffee drinkers are at a much lower risk. In one review of 3 studies, people who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 55% less likely to die by suicide ().
SUMMARY Studies show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of depression and up to a 55% lower risk of suicide.
Oxidative cell damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging.
Coffee is loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress to your cells, thus slowing the aging process.
It also appears to lower your risk of some of the top causes of early death worldwide, such as liver cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.
One study in 402,260 people aged 50–71 suggested that coffee may even help you live longer live longer ().
Those who drank coffee were significantly less likely to die during the 12–13-year study period. The sweet spot seemed to be at 4–5 cups per day — with a 12% reduced risk of early death in men and 16% in women.
Keep in mind that the risk started increasing again for people drinking more than six cups per day. Therefore, moderate amounts of coffee seem to be beneficial, while drinking too much can be detrimental.
SUMMARY Drinking 4–5 cups of coffee per day has been linked to a reduced risk of early death, likely due to coffee’s antioxidant content and its ability to protect against serious health conditions.
Moderate coffee consumption may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It may even help you live longer.
If you want to reap these benefits, be sure to avoid unhealthy additives like sugar and don't drink coffee late in the day if it tends to disrupt your sleep.
With its powerful antioxidants and beneficial effects on health, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.