Often, the foods and beverages people love the most are unhealthy and should be consumed only once in awhile. Coffee, however, appears to be a rare exception. One of the most popular beverages in the United States, coffee also has a number of health benefits — which, in some cases, increase as consumption goes up.

According to a 2018 survey commissioned by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 64% of American adults drink at least one cup of coffee a day, the highest share of coffee drinkers since 2012. Many of those same adults are at a significantly lower risk of a number of sometimes fatal diseases and conditions than those who abstain or who do not drink much coffee.

24/7 Tempo reviewed medical research findings from a range of journals and sources to identify 18 health benefits of drinking coffee. The benefits range from an improved mood and reduced risk of depression to a reduced risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States — and these are America’s states where most people have heart disease.

Many of coffee’s purported medical benefits have some serious caveats. For many diseases on this list, including type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, the risk appears to decline as coffee consumption goes up. And as the Mayo Clinic notes, more than four cups of coffee a day can cause irritability, upset stomach, migraine headaches, and muscle tremors — side effects that may outweigh any potential benefit. Drinking a lot of coffee in the afternoon can also be a symptom of a serious health problem.

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