If you are part of the 83% of Americans who drink coffee every day, you’ve probably wondered what the real facts about its risks and health benefits are. We hear conflicting reports almost daily. Older adults are often warned that the risks are even greater for them. According to the National Coffee Association, the average American coffee drinker chugs down three cups per day. How do you know what you can believe about your morning cup o’ joe? We took a look at the latest research from sources ranging from the Mayo Clinic to the Journal of Vascular Medicine

Here is what we found:

  • The risk between heart disease and coffee consumption occurs when you have a particular gene mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in your body. The Mayo Clinic experts warn that the gene mutation is a fairly common one.
  • If you are concerned about neurodegenerative disorders, some studies show coffee can decrease your risks. For Alzheimer’s disease and dementia coffee may reduce the risk by as much as 60%. It may also decrease the risk of Parkinson’s by 32% to 60%.
  • Newer research indicates that the high antioxidant levels in coffee may help protect you from type 2 diabetes and liver cancer.
  • If you are physically active or trying to lose weight, coffee consumption might help.  Because caffeine is a stimulant, coffee may help to improve physical performance and aide in burning more calories.
  • Consuming large amounts of unfiltered coffee can lead to moderate increases in bad cholesterol.
  • Heavy coffee consumption is linked to sleeplessness, agitation, and anxiety. All can contribute to or worsen hypertension.
  • Watch what you put in to your coffee. Sugars, creamers and high fructose flavorings can be an overlooked source of fat and calories, especially if you drink more than one cup of coffee a day.

So what is the bottom line on our friend Joe? As with most things, moderation seems to be the key. Two cups of coffee per day is generally believed to be the maximum for benefits.

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