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6 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Coffee

6 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Coffee

Would you believe that coffee is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink? Here are 6 proven health benefits you get by enjoying your daily cup of Joe.


Drinking coffee has long been demonized as an unhealthy habit, but research shows this is unjustified. In fact, a couple cups of coffee per day provides a variety of powerful health benefits.

In this article, we’ll look at 6 of these benefits as well as how much coffee is too much.

1. Coffee is a great source of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that prevent cellular damage that can, over time, lead to the development of many types of disease and disfunction.

While we’ve all heard eating fruits and veggies is a good way to get our antioxidants, most of us haven’t heard that drinking coffee isn’t just another way…it can be a better way.

Research shows that coffee is actually a major source of antioxidants in the Western diet.

2. Coffee may help you live longer.

rather massive study was published in 2012 wherein researchers analyzed the coffee consumption of over 400,000 people and, after adjusting for smoking and other potential confounders, found a significant association between coffee consumption and longevity.

That is, that those who drank the most coffee generally lived longer than those that drank less or none, and the more they drank, the longer they lived.

To be specific, coffee drinkers had a significantly lower risk of dying from many different causes including heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, and even infections and injuries and accidents.

4 to 5 cups per day was associated with a 12% reduction in risk of death by those causes in men and 16% in women , but drinking 6 or more cups per day provided no additional benefits. Just 1 cup per day was associated with a 5 to 6% reduction.

These associations were seen in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, so caffeine alone doesn’t account for the benefits.

It’s worth noting that this type of observational research can’t establish causation (we can’t definitively say it was the coffee causing these reductions in mortality), but it does bode well, and adds to the existing literature demonstrating similar effects.

3. Coffee makes you happier and fights off depression.

Any regular coffee drinker could have told you this, but it’s actually been scientifically validated.

Research conducted by scientists at Harvard found that regular coffee consumption reduced the risk of depression in women by 20% and suicide by 53%.

4. Coffee improves physical performance.

Caffeine, the world’s most popular drug, has more value to us fitness folk than the energy high.

It can improve strengthmuscle endurance, and anaerobic performance, as well as reverse the “morning weakness” experienced by many weightlifters and, last but not least, speed up fat loss.

The mechanism by which it aids weight loss is quite simple: it speeds up your body’s metabolic rate by increasing the amount of catecholamines in the blood, which are chemicals that mobilize fat stores to be burned for energy.

Given the effects of caffeine, it’s not surprising that coffee consumption as also been shown to improve exercise performance.

5. Coffee may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a veritable epidemic these days, afflicting about 300 million people worldwide. It’s characterized by insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and impaired insulin production.

Well, research shows strong associations between coffee drinking and  a reduced risk of developing this disease.

  • This study found that subjects reporting 4+ cups of coffee per day were 30% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • This study found that daily consumption of at least 3 cups of coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 42%.
  • This study found that those that drank 12 (!) cups or more per day were 67% less likely to develop Typer 2 diabetes than non-drinkers.

The likely reasons for these findings are numerous substances contained in coffee that have been shown to affect carbohydrate metabolism, such as caffeinechlorogenic acidquinides, and magnesium.

6. Coffee may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Research shows that coffee may protect against liver and colorectal cancer, two of the most common types of fatal cancers.

This meta-analysis of 9 cancer studies involving over 240,000 subjects found strong associations between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of liver cancer. Just 2 cups per day was associated with a 43% reduction in risk of developing the diseases.

This study, which involved the analysis of the diets and lifestyles of nearly 490,000 individuals and found that coffee drinkers were 15% less likely to develop colon and rectal cancers.

Too Much Coffee May Be Harmful

Despite all its benefits, drinking too much coffee can be harmful to your health.

This study, which tracked more than 43,000 people for an average of 17 years, found an increase in all-cause mortality in heavy coffee drinkers (32+ ounces per day). As it’s observational research, the actual mechanisms of why this could be were not explored, but here are two sensible rules of thumb for healthy coffee consumption:

1. Drink your coffee early in the day so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. Too little sleep can cause a host of health issues including impaired endocrine and metabolic function and inflammatory responses.

2. Keep your coffee intake below 4 8-ounce cups per day. Remember that many places sell 16, 20, 24 or even 28-ounce “cups” of coffee.


What do you think about these benefits of coffee? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Eric R

    The problem with a lot of these coffee studies is that they don’t measure the coffee’s caffeine content. The 8 oz. cup you brew at home could be completely different to the 8 oz. cup of light roast you get at Starbucks. Regardless, it’s good to know there’s some data to support coffee consumption. There’s nothing like a big cup of black bold coffee during my morning fast.

    • Michael Matthews

      The benefits aren’t from the caffeine as in many cases, decaf coffee was equally effective.

  • One problem with coffee is that excess caffeine has been linked to high cortisol.

    However cup or two in the morning without sugar won’t do too much harm to your endocrine system.

    Great article as always!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes, excessive caffeine consumption is definitely a bad idea.

      Exactly, 100 – 200 mg per day with 1 – 2 days of 0 mg will cause no harm.

  • Caleb Hamman

    Following up on Ali’s comment, one concern with coffee is the caffeine content. Granted, caffeine definitely has benefits (such as those Mike mentions above)! However, at least one study (Duke University Medical Center, 2002, http://corporate.dukemedicine.org/news_and_publications/news_office/news/5687) has linked caffeine consumption to higher stress levels. The study suggests caffeine and stress can have a multiplying effect in which each reinforces the other!

    I love coffee myself, but have more or less given it up for the past 6 months in attempt to reduce my stress levels. (I have a cup of decaf every now and then, but mostly go for caffeine free tea.) It seems to me the caffeine-stress issue is especially important to consider for those doing intense cortisol-inducing exercise.

    Anyway, just wanted to add to the discussion. Keep up the good work, Mike.

    • Michael Matthews

      Very true Caleb, thanks for sharing. I can see that with the stress issue!

  • LDS

    too bad I’m mormon 🙂

    • Mcaviator

      I was Mormon growing up and thank goodness I woke up and got away from that bondage. The New Testament talks about this. Remember that these were give as WORDS OF WISDOM!! They are not written in stone like the Ten Commandments. You really think you are doing God a favor and you are so good for abstaining from certain things? Really? God came to this earth to set us free From things such as Mormonism. Back in his day it was all the rules of the sudducees and Pharisees. One day everyone is going to wake up and realize that religion is more or less about power and money and the more you can control a person the more money you can extract out of them. Normans say they are the only true religion yet the Bible says there is ONLY ONE TRUE RELIGION and that is taking care of the orphans and widows! How do you explain the first miricle that is recorded where Jesus turned water into wine? The head waiter said Master why did you bring the best out last? He meant hey bring the best out first then once everyone is good and tipsy bring out the cheap stuff cause they won’t know by then. So Jesus produced more wine knowing everybody was already lit up? Everything should be done in moderation. That is what the Bible preaches. When you have so many do’ sand don’ts then it becomes more about you and less about Christ…think about it over a nice hot cup of coffee and don’t feel guilty about it. A coke has more caffeine and when I was a Mor

  • Simon

    Hi Mike,

    i read a cup has about 120-250mg coffein. I have a supplement that claims to have 1000mg per pill.
    Whats your thought on that? Is that dosage per intake ok? Could one take several (per day)?
    And what about cardiac dysrhythmia with this dosage?

    Thanks, Simon

    • Michael Matthews

      The average 8-ounce cup of coffee will contain 80 – 100 mg of caffeine.

      Hell no you do NOT want to take 1 gram of caffeine.

      I never have more than 400 mg in a day and that would be a high day for me. My average daily intake is closer to 200 mg.

      • Simon

        Oh oh. well thanks 🙂 i will not take them anymore.

        But theres one other thing: some day i took even two of them and actually didnt feel any different (also in my performance in my workout)! Can this be? Is there a (natural) resistence against coffein?

        • Michael Matthews

          Are you sure they’re not 100 mg? 2 grams (2000 mg) of caffeine would probably land you in the hospital.

          If they say 1000 mg caffeine per pill there’s not way they have that much.

      • Simon

        omg… the container says “120 caps á 900mg”

      • The “80 – 100 mg of caffeine” in a cup, do you mean in a cup from a coffee shop or your Nescafe home coffee? There’s got to be a difference. Or is that why you gave a range?
        I also feel like a “strong latte” ( a double shot) would be well over 100 mg. Which in that case… Mean’s I’m well over the daily limit with just to cups.

  • Jonny

    Hi Mike,

    I was just thinking, could some of these reductions in diabetes, cancer etc which in turn may improve life expectancy be in some part be related to the fact that those who drink many cups of coffee on a daily basis would drink less drinks like soda, which are known to be unhealthy. Thus coffee consumption may not be decreasing certain risks, instead soda consumption is increasing such risks.

    • Michael Matthews

      Definitely, but researchers control for these types of things.

  • I love my coffe early morning before training. And this just confirms my experience!

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! 🙂

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  • Yazeed Abdullah

    Thanks, I used to drink coffee so much and I just know from you guys that caffeine is linked to criostrol.

    • Michael Matthews

      Too much caffeine is bad yes but in moderation it’s fine.

  • al k

    I wonder if this applies to espresso as well? And also does adding milk interfere? Thanks Mike for the great work your doing.

    • Michael Matthews

      AFAIK it would apply to espresso as well and I don’t see why milk would cause any issues. Thanks!

  • Kevin

    Hey Mike,

    I love coffee. I probably am falling more under the “Too Much … Can be Harmful” portion of the post. Do you have any tips to reduce coffee intake without experiencing withdrawl headaches, lack of motivation and unhappiness. Appreciate any information you or the community can share.


    • Michael Matthews

      Haha. Hmm I don’t as I’ve never dealt with that. I’m sure there are some good resources on the Net though. Let me know if you find anything…

  • Louis

    Great article! It helped me with my health AND my school. My statistics teacher told us to find an article about caffeine and this site came to mind. It has everything I need. Thank you! Saved me from the impending stress. :)))

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha nice! Glad to hear it.

  • Arhas Coffee

    Most articles coffee only contains positive and negative effects. In my article, I formulate detailed ways to distinguish how the positive effects of coffee and how the negative effects of coffee.

    Coffee is the energy surged . Coffee caffeine beneficial to the body as the brain and nerve stimulant and improve performance and concentration. Then the reaction of the body to feel warm and light / relaxed. But caffeine has added additional scent (essence) will be cafestol. Cafestol is a chemical compound that can increase cholesterol levels in the body. So we have to wisely choose caffeinated coffee good for the body. How to differentiate coffee bean / coffee powder (without essence) conducted oral / mouth without brewed. Take a little coffee entered the mouth, the result still feel the taste of coffee, savory bitterness, not swallowed rough. For smokers smoke so lightly. Conversely coffee bean / coffee powder mixed with artificial scent (essence), the result is very bitter, not feel the taste of coffee, swallowed rough. For smokers do not benefit. The conclusion by knowing the guidelines of natural coffee drink in the stomach will feel safe and secure for blood pressure, do not make trouble sleeping, not addicted, emotionally stable.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment!

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  • Amanda Hollifield Gardner

    I wonder about black tea vs coffee. Which supports the goals of an aspiring bodybuilder/bikini ametur

    • Michael Matthews

      Neither really. You can get caffeine from other sources and green tea has so few catechins that it won’t noticeably impact weight loss. You’d need to take green tea extract for this.

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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    • Shawn

      Do you have any healthy alternatives for cream and sugar for coffee? Because drinking it black can be tough.

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  • GraysonByrd

    Do you know that it also depends on the roast of the coffee? It is the healthiest one, of course, if we talk about the pure drink without sugar, milk or anything else of that kind. On the other hand, it is always a risk.

  • Ennis

    What are your thought on Bulletproof Coffee? It is delicious but seems to good to be true.

    • Way overhyped. Drink it if you like but I’m going to be writing about it soon.

  • William Lim Jr

    Hi Mike,

    I know you’re not a coffee guy, but I was just wondering, have actually had good coffee – properly sourced, roasted, and brewed coffee from a Third Wave coffee place (not a Second Wave company such as Starbucks where beans are over-roasted for consistency in mass production and to withstand highly sugared concoctions)?

    The first time a had latte from one of the more serious coffee places, I was blown away, and realized I was just drinking burnt crap before then. The downside with these places, thought, would be the likelihood of encountering hipster coffee snobbery, haha. But even the most passionate hipster coffee aficionado has learned to mellow down through the years.

    Thanks for writing an article on coffee, though it’s not really your thing. Just shows how balanced you are.

    Peace man!


    • You know it’s funny you ask because a few weekends ago I had a latte “properly” made by a coffee-loving friend of mine and I have to say it was quite good. 🙂

      • William Lim Jr

        Haha, I’m glad you liked it.

        I know saying something has to be done “properly” sounds kinda aloof. But you probably understand how a lot of things just need to be treated a certain way so we can enjoy their best qualities. It’s kinda like a really good piece of kobe beef, which you wouldn’t want to just scorch till its bone dry.

        I was just curious to ask because a lot of people I know who do not like coffee have usually only been exposed to their grandma’s Folgers in a cup (The 1st Wave, commodity, mass produced coffee, made more uniformity and not really for flavor) and/or Starbucks (The 2nd Wave, a slight improvement, but mainly aimed at selling coffee that could withstand super sugary concoctions. These coffees are intentionally roasted super dark and bitter so you can still taste some coffee through all the added sweeteners and cream).

        The 3rd Wave is when people started treating coffee in a culinary sense. Instead of blending together beans from different places, they are served/sold according to their region to bring out the individual characteristics each area. They are not over roasted so that the unique qualities are shown, since the aim is not to have the same taste every cup, but to actually celebrate the different nuances each batch of harvest has, similar to what is done with wine.

        I’m not sure if there are good 3rd wave coffee places down there in your part of Florida, but if you do get to visit the east coast and the bay area, you’ll definitely find a lot more options.

        • Absolutely and that’s very true with anything related to food and beverages.

          There are a lot of “little” things that add up to major differences in overall taste and enjoyment.

          Chocolate is the same way and I’m semi-snobbish at this point, haha. I have a couple small-batch, bean-to-bar producers that I really like and everything else is just meh.

  • Austin

    Hey Mike I have a couple questions. You know how when most people wake up they’re thin in the mornings but say they’re pudgy looking at night? I have the opposite. During the day I always look washed out and my proportions are terrible, but the later I go into the night I get leaner looking, I look more dense, and my proportions improve quite a bit. It happens independently of how much or what I eat, if I do or don’t work out. I was wondering if you knew how I could get my “night” look during the day?
    So you know what I’m talking about I’m gonna post some pictures. (Starting from the right)The 1st is me around 5, the 2nd around 6, the 3rd around 8. Even though I have a really bad camera you can still fairly easily notice the difference.

    My 2nd question is what do you think my body fat is? I’ve emailed you before about waiting to bulk until I cut down to get get a lean, angular face. But I’m 140ish pounds at 5’10 and I’m pretty sure my body fat is already really low. I’m thinking 9%. It generally seems guys as skinny as me don’t have definition at all unless they’re in single digits.(Once again sorry for the pics being sideways, they always do it no matter what)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d9157cc6a3fdeda7011bc4405a6b090c0c5d4e86e969e3a09dc1d5056b305c1.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a03a16e9dfc1e4b1ea7bd3c2816a1bafd83a57e761046db4d314f35f37001a4a.jpg

    • Hey Austin! Depending on how you eat and what you do, that could affect your look through the day. BF% looks about 12% or so.

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