How do you feel about coffee? If you live in America, chances are that you drink it regularly. At several hundred million cups per day, Americans have turned coffee-drinking into more than a nice addition to breakfast. It’s an art form. You might have strong feelings about which kind and what flavor you drink, and you probably consume your concoction religiously at home or in a favorite shop. While you probably don’t need more reasons to keep up your coffee routine, one study might just give you another anyway.

Recently, Spanish researchers from the Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, studied data on 20,000 people to find out the health effects of coffee. For even better accuracy, the study spanned a 10-year time period. The researchers then used this extensive data to compare the health of coffee-drinkers to those who don’t enjoy the beverage as regularly.

What did the researchers find? To the delight of coffee-lovers everywhere, the study showed that drinking coffee may reduce a person’s risk of death by 64 percent. Even those over the age of 45 could lower their risk of death by 30 percent with 2 extra cups per day.

In addition, researchers studied to find the amount of coffee to drink that would give the best results, and what they found might just encourage you to drink more. In fact, the magic number of cups for the healthiest individuals was not 1, but 4, cups each day. You always knew you couldn’t survive without coffee.

Coffee Boosts Your Health

Unlike soft drinks and other sugary beverages out there, coffee actually supports good nutrition. It has health benefits beyond empty calories and social pleasure, and more studies are suggesting a boost in health for people who drink it regularly.

Let’s look at a few of the nutrients you’re getting in with every cup of coffee you drink:

  • Caffeine – This notorious ingredient in coffee gives you energy, boosts your mood and improves your memory.
  • Vitamin B2 – This essential vitamin helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy, promotes healthy skin, hair and eyes and helps the body metabolize proteins and fats.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium regulates your blood pressure, promotes a regular heart rate and keeps your bones nice and strong.
  • Potassium – This necessary electrolyte helps the muscles contract properly, regulates your body’s water balance and conducts nerve impulses.
  • Polyphenols – This antioxidant is prevalent in many plant-based foods and is known for its effectiveness against disease.
  • Hydrocinnamic acids – This helpful addition neutralizes free radicals in the body and prevents oxidative stress.

Although coffee doesn’t have a significant amount of macronutrients, it does give people a huge source of antioxidants. In fact, many Americans gain most of their antioxidants from this drink versus fruits and vegetables. While you’ll definitely get the best antioxidants from plant-based sources, coffee certainly can support good nutrition in your diet.

Does Coffee Prevent Disease?

Perhaps due to the drink’s many antioxidants, coffee does seem to lower the risk of several common diseases. Again, you should still get vitamins and antioxidants from a variety of sources, but coffee can play a role here too.

Heart Health

Researchers have long searched for the best foods and lifestyle routines that support better heart health for people. When looking into whether to add coffee to that regimen, experts differ in opinion.

However, one European study in 2012 suggested that drinking moderate amounts of coffee could decrease the risk of heart failure. According to the research, this moderate consumption was a maximum of 4 8-ounce cups per day, leading to a decreased risk of 11 percent.

Diabetes

Another helpful effect of coffee is its possible protection against diabetes. According to researchers from UCLA, the drink actually increases plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which regulates testosterone and estrogen in the body.

These two hormones do contribute to the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that coffee may decrease this risk by over 10 percent.

Colon Cancer  

Many patients suffer from colon cancer each year, but research from the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center shows that coffee can protect against it. In this study, the researchers analyzed data from over 9,000 people.

They found that those who drank at least 1 or 2 cups per day decreased their risk by 26 percent. For those who drank more than 2.5 cups per day, their risk decreased by a whopping 50 percent. Scientists attribute these possible disease-fighting properties of coffee to the many antioxidants it contains.

Over the years, coffee has gotten a bad reputation for its caffeine and sugary additions. However, current research shows that it may have many benefits, including fighting disease. With this new expert encouragement, you now have no reason to skip your daily cup of joe.