Once suspected in a variety of diseases, coffee now has an impressive résumé: Mounting evidence suggests that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson's disease, cirrhosis, and certain types of liver, breast, and colon cancers.
Better than fruit juice?
Hundreds of compounds, including antioxidants, seem to be responsible for coffee's many protective benefits. In a recent Harvard University study, coffee drinkers had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular causes than nondrinkers. Black coffee is probably even better for you than high-calorie beverages. A Norwegian study found that a typical serving of brewed coffee is richer in antioxidants than a serving of blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, or many fruit juices.
Coffee might help your mind as much as your body. One study found that sleep-deprived rats were much calmer after simply inhaling roasted coffee beans.
Many dietitians believe moderation is still best and recommend drinking only one or two cups of coffee a day-without whole milk, whipped cream, and sugar (which jolt only your waistline). Drink much more than that and the caffeine can dehydrate you or raise your blood pressure. Pregnant women will want to limit their intake, too, as coffee can boost the risk of miscarriage.
If you're worried about cholesterol, stick to paper-filtered and instant coffees. Unfiltered coffees, which are typically made with a French press, contain more of a cholesterol-raising substance called cafestol.