Love Your Morning Coffee? The Benefits of Coffee

If you’re like most, you’re reaching for a cup of coffee every morning. Let’s take a look to see what science says about the potential benefits of coffee.

If you’re like most people, you’re reaching for a cup of coffee every morning to kickstart your day. Let’s take a look to see what science says about the potential benefits of coffee.

The Nutrition of Coffee

When we talk about plain, black coffee – that means no milk, no sugar – there isn’t much to see.

Delivering less than two calories per cup, plain coffee is pretty boring until you get to the superstar compound that most of us know and love: caffeine.

Caffeine is nature’s stimulant, activating the central nervous system and triggering the same hormones that are released during “fight-or-flight” situations. Surprisingly, caffeine, along with the natural antioxidants in coffee, have a variety of benefits.

Benefits of Coffee

Other than being a necessity during college and work deadlines, does coffee have any real health benefit? Or is this just another bad habit that people around the world have adopted but tend to ignore the possible consequences?

Increases Alertness, Focus, and Attention

Let’s start with the benefit that you’re probably well aware of: drinking coffee can significantly increase your focus and how alert you are. [1]

Boosts Mental Performance

What’s more, caffeine ingestion can dramatically increase your mental performance. Studies show students and sleep-deprived subjects perform better on tests when consuming caffeine in a moderate amount. [1]

Enhances Reaction Time

If you’re an athlete, caffeine may be able to help you improve your performance. Caffeine has been shown to enhance your reaction time, making it valuable for all sports. [2]

Better Mood and Mindset

Studies on sleep-deprived subjects showed that caffeine improved their mood, despite not getting enough sleep. [1]

Reduces the Risk of Disease

Recent studies have shown that caffeine can decrease the risk of disease, specifically Alzheimer’s and dementia. Coffee can also decrease the amount of inflammation in brain tissue.

Inflammation is connected with being the trigger for a number of diseases. By reducing inflammation, you may be reducing your risk for disease. [3]

How Many Cups of Coffee Per Day?

Some studies suggest that the optimal number of cups of coffee per day to maximize health benefits is between three to five cups. Since caffeine can vary widely from brand to brand, it may be a safer choice to start with one cup per day, and add a second cup in the afternoon, if you feel that you need it.

Consume coffee wisely and don’t fall into the trap of replacing sleep with coffee. Remember, a quick, 10-minute nap is a better way to increase energy levels than consuming cup after cup of coffee.


  1. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 20, Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans. Available from:
  2. Santos VG, Santos VR, Felippe LJ, et al. Caffeine reduces reaction time and improves performance in simulated-contest of taekwondo. Nutrients. 2014;6(2):637-649. Published 2014 Feb 10. doi:10.3390/nu6020637.
  3. Cao C, Cirrito JR, Lin X, Wang L, Verges DK, Dickson A, Mamcarz M, Zhang C, Mori T, Arendash GW, Holtzman DM, Potter H. Caffeine suppresses amyloid-beta levels in plasma and brain of Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(3):681-97. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1071. Erratum in: J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Nov;18(3):727. Wang, Lilly [corrected to Wang, Li]. PMID: 19581723; PMCID: PMC3746074.
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