Worried about your caffeine consumption? New research suggests that your tri-daily coffee habit is actually doing you more good than harm… so long as it’s freshly brewed. Here’s everything you need to know. 

If you’re a coffee fiend, you may have felt quite badgered in recent years by wellness types advocating the caffeine-free life. From fewer headaches to increased sleep quality, giving up the black stuff is lauded for improving how we function. But scientists believe that the reverse is also true: not only does coffee boast a several health benefits, but those benefits are at their most potent after a few cups.

A decade-long study of nearly 500,000 people has found that those who drink up to three cups of coffee are 20% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or suffer a stroke than those who don’t drink coffee at all. And those moderate drinkers are 12% less likely to die from any cause. 

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Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the study followed volunteers for 11 years. 22% were non-coffee drinkers, 58% drank up to three cups a day and 20% drank over three. Those who drank around three cups a day were less likely to be diabetic than zero-coffee drinkers and the people who drank over three were no more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than those who consumed less (which is something previous studies have contradicted).

Those heavy coffee drinkers did, however, have a similar rate of mortality, cardiovascular disease and stroke as non-coffee drinkers – suggesting that three cups is the maximum you want to drink if you’re after the health benefits.

So, what’s so good about coffee? The bean contains a number of useful nutrients including vitamins B2 and B3, magnesium, potassium, as well as a load of antioxidants that help protect the body against free radical damage. Antioxidants also protect us from inflammation – which is known to be linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cancers. 

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Of course, coffee doesn’t agree with everyone. We all react differently to caffeine and while some people will struggle to pick up a third cup after drinking two coffees, others might barely notice they’ve had any caffeine. 

Coffee can exacerbate certain conditions like acid reflux and anxiety, so it’s definitely not a good idea to push yourself to drink more coffee than you’re comfortable with. This research, however, is comforting for those of us who do drink umpteen Americanos a day and who are tired of being told to ditch the habit.

For more nutrition tips, visit the Strong Women Training Club.

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