While past studies hinted that coffee might have a dark side, newer research suggests that it may actually have health benefits.
Why the reversal? It's hard to look at just one aspect of diet and connect it to a health condition because so many other factors that could play a role. For example, early research on coffee didn't always take into account that heavy coffee drinkers also tended to use tobacco and be sedentary.
When newer studies adjusted for such factors, they found a possible association between coffee and decreased mortality. Coffee may offer some protection against:
- Parkinson's disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver disease, including liver cancer
- Heart attack and stroke
Coffee still has potential risks, mostly due to its high caffeine content. For example, it can temporarily raise blood pressure. Women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding need to be cautious about caffeine. High intake of boiled, unfiltered coffee has been associated with mild increase in cholesterol levels.
The bottom line? Your coffee habit is probably fine and may even have some benefits. But if you have side effects from coffee, such as heartburn, nervousness or insomnia, consider cutting back.
Feb. 26, 2020
Get the latest health information from Mayo Clinic’s experts.
Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.
ErrorEmail field is required
ErrorInclude a valid email address
To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which
information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with
other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could
include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected
health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health
information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of
privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on
the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.
Thank you for subscribing
Our Housecall e-newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest health information.
Sorry something went wrong with your subscription
Please, try again in a couple of minutes
See more Expert Answers
- Lieberman HR, et al. Daily patterns of caffeine intake and the association of intake with multiple sociodemographic and lifestyle factors in U.S. adults based on the NHANES 20072012 surveys. Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.jand.2018.08.152.
- Bordeaux B. Benefits and risks of caffeine and caffeinated beverages. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 20, 2019.
- Grosso G, et al. Coffee, caffeine, and health outcomes: An umbrella review. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2019; doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064941.
- O'Keefe JO, et al. Coffee for cardioprotection and longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases. 2018; doi:10.1016/j.pcad.2018.02.002.
- IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans. Vol. 116: Drinking coffee, mate, and very hot beverages. In: IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans. International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2018. http://publications.iarc.fr/566. Accessed Sept. 25, 2019.
- Benefits of coffee. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/benefits-of-coffee. Accessed Sept. 25, 2019.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion No.462: Moderate caffeine consumption during Pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2010; doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181eeb2a1. Reaffirmed 2016.
- Hensrud DD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Feb. 6, 2020.
- Zhou A, et al. Long-term coffee consumption, caffeine metabolism genetics, and risk of cardiovascular disease: A prospective analysis of up to 347,077 individuals and 8368 cases. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2019; doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy297.
- Wikoff D, et al. Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.002.