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According to the National Coffee Association, about 54 percent of Americans older than 18 years old drink coffee every day. They drink an average of 3.1 9-ounce cups each day, with over 40 billion dollars spent on coffee alone each year in the United States!  That’s a lot of money on something that isn’t an essential part of our diet… so why do so many people drink coffee in the first place?
The Benefits in Your Cup of Joe
Coffee has been liked to quite a few health benefits in several studies, getting rid of the age-old misconception that coffee drinking is bad for your health.
1 – Caffeine gives the drinker an energy boost. 65 percent of coffee drinkers take the drink during breakfast because of the “pick-me-up” it gives. While caffeine is not only found in coffee but other drinks and food as well, its effects are pretty singular: it stimulates the central nervous system, making us more awake. 
2 – Coffee has been proven to reduce the risk for type 2 Diabetes, according to a meta-analysis published in 2014. The study included 28 studies with more than a million participants and close to 50,000 cases of type 2 diabetes. 
3 – Two separate studies published in 2011 and 2014 revealed that consumption of caffeinated coffee was able to reduce the risk of gallstones in both men and women respectively.  
4 – A book published in 2011 detailed the positive effects of drinking coffee, with one published study revealed coffee’s protective effects against liver damage and cirrhosis. 
5 – According to a study by Lee and Im in 2013, coffee consumption has neuroprotective effects on the brain, promoting neural integrity and preventing neuroinflammation, which can reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease. 
6 – New research has shown that coffee can protect DNA, therefore potentially reducing cancer risk. Full report: Drinking Coffee Could Help Protect Your DNA From Damage, Therefore Reducing Cancer Risk
The Bad News…
Of course, there is a bad to coffee drinking as well. Even with numerous studies revealing how coffee can improve health, there are certain characteristics of caffeine that make coffee intake a health risk instead of a benefit:
1 – While caffeine is found on the list of benefits, it also has negative effects on the body. Too much caffeine intake can cause the nervous system to go into overdrive – that means heart rate and blood pressure that is too high. This can damage the cardiovascular system and can even cause a heart attack or a stroke. This is precisely the reason why avoiding caffeine intake is suggested to people suffering from hypertension or a heart problem. 
2 – Because the intake of caffeine can aggravate hypertension, it implies that consumption of caffeine during pregnancy can be dangerous. According to a study in 2011, the higher the caffeine intake during pregnancy, the higher the systolic blood pressure in the first and third trimesters – which is potentially dangerous for both the mother and child as it can worse pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia. 
3 – Note that while coffee drinks contain coffee, they often also contain sugar and other ingredients that are potentially not so healthy. So for maximum coffee benefits, skip the syrup and the other stuff that adds flavor and poses a potential risk to health.
 National Coffee Drinking Trends 2010 (2010). National Coffee Association. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/multimedia-article/facts/
 National Institutes of Health (2015). Caffeine. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/caffeine.html
 Ding, M., et. al. (2014). Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-response Meta-analysis. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/2/569.short
 Banim, J., et. al. (2011). The aetiology of gallstones—caffeinated coffee is associated with a reduction of symptomatic gallstones in men: data from a UK prospective cohort study (EPIC-Norfolk). http://gut.bmj.com/content/60/Suppl_1/A224.2.abstract
 Nordenvall, C., Oskarsson, V. & Wolk, A. (2014). Inverse Association Between Coffee Consumption and Risk of Cholecystectomy in Women but Not in Men. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25245628
 Lee, K., et. al. (2013). Neuroprotective and Anti-inflammatory Properties of a Coffee Component in the MPTP Model of Parkinson’s Disease. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-012-0165-2
 Chu, Y. (2011). Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention (Chapter 7). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9781119949893
 Liu, J., et. al. (2013). Association of Coffee Consumption With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025619613005788
 Bakker, R. (2011). Maternal Lifestyle and Pregnancy Complications (Chapter 3.4, page 101). http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ellen_Silbergeld/publication/8543284_Fetal_ADH2*3_maternal_alcohol_consumption_and_fetal_growth/links/0fcfd50b5d90c68a4e000000.pdf
Infographic info sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Effects_of_moderate_caffeine_consumption.svg (public domain source)
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