Coffee: How Many Cups Can You Drink Per Day?
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Long black, cappuccino, or latte – a morning coffee is vital for many people looking to kick start their day. But while coffee may be just what you need to get going in the morning, how much is too much? How many cups of coffee is safe to drink per day? In this article, we discuss how many cups of coffee is safe to drink per day. We also delve into the health benefits of coffee, as well as the side effects of having too much caffeine.
Coffee: How Many Cups Can You Drink Per Day?
Do you feel concerned when you reach for that second, or even third, cup of coffee in the morning? Go ahead and indulge yourself. Studies conclude that healthy adults can consume up to 400mg of caffeine per day – that’s around four 8oz. cups of coffee or six espresso shots.
But, you can have too much of a good thing – even when that good thing is a steaming hot cup of coffee. How much is too much, though, is really a matter of caffeine – and varies from one person to another. After all, caffeine affects people differently. Also, different varieties and brands of coffee pack different amounts of caffeine.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an 8oz. cup of regular coffee can contain anywhere from 95 to 200mg of caffeine. The same serving of decaf usually contains anywhere from 2 to 15mg, while an espresso shot averages about 63mg. So whether or not, say, three cups of coffee per day might be too much really depends on the caffeine content in your particular drink.
Ultimately, everyone handles coffee a little differently. So, experts recommend sticking to no more than 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day – just to be safe. And as with everything, listen to your body. It’s important to monitor your caffeine intake to make sure it remains at levels that your body and mind can tolerate.
Coffee and Caffeine: The Health Benefits
When people think of coffee, they usually think about its ability to provide an energy boost. But beyond its ability to boost energy and help you focus, research shows that it has numerous health benefits as well.
- Coffee and Diabetes
Research shows that coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes. In one study, researchers who gathered data on more than 48,000 people found that those who increased their coffee consumption by at least one cup per day over 4 years had an 11% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t increase their intake. Another study concluded that people who drank 4 to 6 cups of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee each day appeared to have a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, including type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee and Heart Health
One study found that drinking coffee in moderation (consuming about two 8oz. servings per day), may protect against heart failure. People who drank moderate amounts of coffee each day had an 11% reduced risk of heart failure than those who did not. Another study found that caffeine consumption may have at least a slight benefit for cardiovascular health, including blood pressure.
- Coffee and Athletic Performance
Studies have shown that in moderation, caffeine can enhance athletic performance. Its effects include increased muscular strength, power, and endurance; improved circulation, and reduced pain. That may help you push just a little bit harder during your workout sessions, resulting in improvements in endurance and/or muscle strength.
- Coffee and Happiness
One study found that drinking coffee is linked to positive emotions, including satisfaction, calm, affection, kindness, pleasure, happiness. The findings also noted that no negative emotions were linked to coffee consumption. Another study involving over 50,000 women found that depression risk decreased as caffeine consumption increased.
Coffee and Caffeine: The Side Effects
Drinking too much coffee can also have some adverse effects.
- Coffee and Insomnia
Caffeine’s ability to help people stay awake is one of its most sought-after benefits. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make it hard to get enough restorative sleep. Studies have found that higher caffeine intake can increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It may also decrease total sleeping time, particularly in the elderly.
One study investigated how the timing of caffeine consumption affects sleep. Researchers gave 12 healthy adults 400mg of caffeine either 3 hours before bedtime, 6 hours before bedtime, or immediately prior to bedtime.
Both the time it took all three groups to fall asleep and the time they spent awake at night significantly increased. These results suggest that it’s important to pay attention to both the timing and amount of caffeine you consume to optimize your sleep.
- Coffee and High Blood Pressure
Overall, caffeine doesn’t seem to increase the risk of stroke or heart disease in most people. However, it’s been shown to raise blood pressure in several studies due to its stimulatory effect on the central nervous system.
High caffeine intake has also been shown to raise blood pressure levels during exercise in healthy people, as well as in individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important that you pay attention to the timing and dosage of caffeine consumption, particularly if you already have high blood pressure.
- Coffee and Anxiety
Caffeine is known to increase alertness – it works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. At the same time, it triggers the release of adrenaline – the flight-or-fight hormone – associated with increased energy.
However, at higher caffeine doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to nervousness and anxiety. Extremely high daily intakes of caffeine (about 1,000mg or more) per day have been reported to cause jitteriness, nervousness, and similar symptoms in most people, whereas even a moderate intake may lead to similar effects in caffeine-sensitive people.
The Bottom Line
Light-to-moderate caffeine intake seemingly provides impressive health benefits for many people. On the other hand, very high doses may lead to side effects that interfere with day-to-day living. Ultimately, everyone handles coffee a little differently. So, experts recommend sticking to no more than 400mg of caffeine per day (4 to 5 cups) – just to be safe.
And as with everything, listen to your body. It’s important to monitor your caffeine intake to make sure it remains at levels that your body and mind can tolerate.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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