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On National Coffee Day, remember both the benefits and risks of our favorite bitter bean

Happy National Coffee Day, everyone. In all likelihood, this day won’t change the drinking habits for most people as coffee is the official starter fluid of the morning impaired.

That being said, today gives us an opportunity to inform you of some of the health benefits (and risks) of the blessed, bitter bean.

Beyond simply being necessary for many to wake up in the mornings or get over the midday hump, coffee has been found to increase levels of hormone-binding globulin, which controls our bodies’ estrogen and testosterone. By affecting these hormones, an extra cup of per day coffee may help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 11 percent.

While too much caffeine can make some of us jittery, it turns out that people with Parkinson’s disease can actually benefit from a little extra caffeine. The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre found that Parkinson’s patients who took a 100 milligrams pill of caffeine twice daily for three weeks then a 200 milligrams caffeine pill twice daily for another three weeks showed significant improvement in motor control and reduced stiffness compared to those who took a placebo.

In addition, the uplifting effects of coffee can actually help to mitigate the effects of alcohol. While safe drinking behaviors are still important, research has shown that one cup of coffee per day is associated with a 22 percent lower incidence of liver cirrhosis in alcohol drinkers. Among those who already have liver cirrhosis, an extra two cups of coffee per day is associated with a 66 percent lower risk of death although the ingredient responsible for these results is still unknown.

As for that ever-important ticker, drinking two 8-ounce servings of coffee each day is linked to an 11 percent decreased risk of heart failure, but it can put young adults with mild high blood pressure at an increased risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks.

And for your most valuable organ, your brain, research has found that those who consume a consistent, moderate amount of daily coffee (one or two cups) are at a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. But when coffee consumption increased over time, this was linked to an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, relative to those who drank about a cup per day.

While many of the benefits of coffee are linked to the antioxidants in it — after all, it is the number one source of antioxidants for Americans — you can have too much of a good thing. Drinking more than one or two cups of coffee per day doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll see bigger or better positive effects. In fact, it can actually have negative outcomes.

Too much caffeine can lead to increased anxiety, headaches or even migraines and is also linked to symptoms of depression. For women, there is some research to suggest that regular caffeine consumption can negatively affect fertility by reducing the body’s ability to move her eggs through the Fallopian tubes to the uterus.

As is the case with so many things, coffee has some wonderful benefits but only if consumed in moderation. Go forth this morning and carpe mug!

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On National Coffee Day, remember both the benefits and risks of our favorite bitter bean