Is coffee healthy? Top 5 health benefits of coffee

May 3, 2023
6 minute read

Coffee is a drink that many of us enjoy throughout the day, although maybe the caffeine-free variety after lunch! But have you thought about the potential health properties of coffee and why there might be more to it than helping you wake up in the morning? Let’s see whether coffee is the healthy treat you can enjoy AND benefit from.

How did we come to drink so much coffee?

Surprisingly, coffee is a younger drink than tea and can be accurately dated to the 15th century, however it may have been enjoyed further back in time. It first came to the UK in around 1650 with the opening of a coffee house in Oxford. It was also banned during five separate periods between 1750 and 1823! Fast forward to today and we use it for focus and productivity, socialising and as an enjoyable drink as we go about our day.  

But, just how healthy is coffee, or is your daily caffeine habit likely to cause you harm in the long run? Let’s find out!

1. Coffee may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality

All-cause mortality is a term that refers to death from any cause within a population, within a specific time period. Simply put, when scientists compare groups of coffee drinkers with groups of non-coffee drinkers over a period of time, they find that coffee drinkers tend to have a lower risk of death in general. The optimum rate of coffee consumption seems to be a steady three cups per day.

2. Coffee may help prevent chronic conditions

Several studies have shown a link between regular coffee consumption and a lower risk of developing several chronic conditions. This includes type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, a recent study found that a high concentration of caffeine in the blood was associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes – generally due to a lower BMI.  

“Studies found an association between drinking between three and five cups of caffeinated coffee a day and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with each cup appearing to cut the diabetes risk by 7%.”

3. Coffee may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke  

Studies also indicate that consuming moderate amounts of ground coffee per day (up to three cups) is consistently associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Compared to non-drinkers, people drinking three cups per day enjoyed a 12% lower risk of overall mortality, with a 17% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 21% lower mortality risk from stroke.

4. Regular coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer

There’s been a recent shift with coffee no longer listed as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organisation. The World Cancer Research Fund support strong evidence that coffee decreases the risk of liver and womb cancers, and other studies citing it can play a role in decreasing mouth, pharynx and larynx, and skin cancers.

It’s not fully known how the link works, but we do know coffee is rich in compounds that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. There are also studies showing coffee can regulate hormone levels, whilst chlorogenic acid in coffee contributes to the positive management of glucose levels and regulation of insulin levels.

5. Coffee can keep your liver healthy

Regular and moderate coffee consumption has also been demonstrated to result in a lower risk of negative liver outcomes such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. It can also slow the progression of liver disease in some patients. After reviewing over 1,000 studies, the World Health Organisation confirmed regular coffee consumption can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer.

Is there such a thing as too much coffee?

From all the evidence, the optimal amount of coffee is anywhere from half a cup to three cups per day. However, there are some points to consider in your daily coffee routine:

  • Ground coffee is shown to be more effective than instant coffee  
  • Adding sugar, syrups or cream can create a drink that does more harm than good
  • Caffeine is a stimulant, affecting some people more than others (children should avoid it and pregnant women should limit their intake to no more than 200mg per day)
  • Decaffeinated coffee has as many benefits as caffeinated coffee

Useful resources*

BMI and coffee

Type 2 diabetes and coffee

Heart health and coffee

Cancer and coffee

Liver health and coffee

Pregnancy and coffee

Coffee - all-cause mortality and risk of death

*Phlo are not responsible for the content of 3rd party research cited in this article.  

If you want to find out more about the benefits of drinking your daily coffee, get in touch with our friendly pharmacy team who can offer you advice and guidance.

Content last reviewed on:
May 3, 2023
Next review date:
May 3, 2025
Further reading
Patient receiving delivery from Phlo

Join our pharmacy revolution

There’s no better time to become part of the Phlo community. Take control of your medication management and join the 1,000s of patients we’ve helped safely manage their medication.

Download the Phlo app and enjoy an enhanced experience!
Link to download app from Apple StoreLink to download app from Google Play store