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The truth about our favorite morning beverage: Coffee

It’s no surprise: Coffee is popular. 70 percent of Americans drink coffee every week and more than 60 percent say they drink it every day. The average American knocks back three cups of it each day.

But coffee has a longstanding history of being blamed for many health problems, from stunting your growth to causing heart disease.

However, there’s good news for those of us who love a good cup of joe—research shows that coffee may not be so terrible for you after all.

Benefits and drawbacks of coffee

Coffee improves energy levels due to the caffeine, which has been called the most commonly used stimulant in the world. Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee may have a slight benefit in weight loss and may increase physical performance. Coffee also contains many important nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, niacin and riboflavin.

Some studies have also found the caffeine in coffee may lower their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, liver cirrhosis and depression.

For those who are sensitive to caffeine, coffee can cause “the jitters,” but these feelings can be tempered by eating a banana. Coffee can also rob you of sleep if you drink too much too late in the day. It takes about six hours for caffeine to clear your system, so try to limit yourself to just the morning cup of joe.

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A few other things to keep in mind: The dark color of coffee is known for staining teeth. Coffee can also be an irritant to those with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.

Coffee nutrition facts

Ground coffee has about 115 mg of caffeine per cup, while instant coffee only has 65 mg of caffeine. So you should keep an eye on the size of your coffee cup.

A “grande” size drink has over 300 mg of caffeine—three times as much as a regular cup of coffee. Most experts will suggest that you stop at two or three cups. Too much coffee can lead to a fast heart rate and high blood pressure.

Although coffee has many health benefits, be aware of how many calories and grams of fat that milk, sugar and cream can add to your coffee. Try using skim milk or almond milk instead of cream. Agave nectar, honey or stevia are great natural alternatives to sugar.

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The truth about our favorite morning beverage: Coffee