We enjoy our coffee a lot. Even throughout the lockdown, several of us were able to get our daily flat white or Americano. So we should all be relieved to learn that those beverages may have contributed to our overall health. The most recent studies on coffee’s health effects and caffeine, its major active component, are comforting. Their intake has been associated to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer, among other diseases.
In fact, drinking enough coffee to give 400mg of caffeine per day has been linked to a lower death rate in several studies throughout the world. That’s the equivalent of four or five cups of normal coffee. In terms of caffeine content, an espresso shot has 60-65mg, whereas a latte, cappuccino, or flat white often contains one or two shots. (A Grande cappuccino at Starbucks contains 150mg of caffeine, while a Venti cappuccino contains 225mg.)
Despite numerous worries that have surfaced throughout time, coffee is extremely safe and has a number of significant potential advantages.
In a study of almost 200,000 adults monitored for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee each day, with or without caffeine, were 15% less likely to die early from any cause than those who avoided it. Perhaps most striking was a 50% reduction in the risk of suicide in both men and women who drank modest amounts of coffee, possibly due to increased synthesis of antidepressant brain chemicals.
Although existing data does not support advocating coffee or caffeine to prevent disease, drinking coffee in moderation “can be part of a healthy lifestyle” for most individuals, according to a paper published last summer by a research team at the Harvard School of Public Health.