Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
Coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world (global demand is high, so methods of growing it often are chemical fertilizer-pesticide-herbicide intensive). This is bad for you (since pesticide residues can end up in your cup) and really bad for the planet. High demand and the fact that it’s generally grown in poorer countries also means labor practices are a major issue. Buy organic and fair-trade if and when you can.
By drinking caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee on a regular basis, one can potentially reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The reduced risk is associated with drinking multiple cups, as many as six a day. It is believed that the antioxidants, such as CGA, found in coffee beans are at least partially responsible for these lower rates. According to some studies, CGA may even help keep insulin levels even.
Over the past decade, studies have found a link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of dementia. It’s thought that the drink’s high caffeine content might be responsible for the brain-boosting benefits. One small study of subjects who showed signs of memory problems found that, over a 2- to 4-year period, people with lower blood levels of caffeine were more likely to develop dementia than those with higher levels. (Want to brew up a tastier cup of joe? Consider trying some of these six ways to flavor your coffee without added sugar.)
Feeling a little slow lately? All it might take to get your body back to working at a normal pace is a little coffee. A 2005 study from the Radiological Society of North America found it doesn’t take much—just a couple cups—to improve your reaction time, making you better at everything from noticing something scary like smoke in your home (and realizing you need to grab the fire extinguisher ASAP) to breaking your car for a stop sign.