Is coffee good for you? Maybe. Over the past five years or so, an increasing number of studies have come out asserting that the stuff we drink can increase our lifespan, relieve stress, and even offer protection against cancer.

Though these studies are still in the fledgling stage — no rigorous randomized controlled trials have yet been published linking coffee to longevity — it’s still probably worth asking: Are you drinking it enough? Coffee contains antioxidants, polyphenols, and caffeine, all of which are thought to be beneficial for longevity and for a healthy weight, as The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof explains. But in a 2005 report, the international research organization Public Health Reports found that too much coffee can lead to serious health complications. “An increasing body of evidence suggests that three cups of coffee per day is beneficial for the heart, for diabetes and for the bone of the spine, and that it may be associated with lowered risk of prostate and breast cancer,” it said. “However, a large number of studies, including ours, show that excessive coffee consumption is associated with increased risk of death.”

This image is courtesy of Flickr user meanhigh95

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