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caffeine, decaffeinated coffee, health benefits - | Written by Janice Spencer

How Much Coffee Should I Drink?

Cup of coffee with vase of flowersDrinking coffee has for hundreds of years been a cultural tradition across the world, and in the UK alone it is estimated around 95 million cups are consumed each day. There’s probably never been a better time to drink coffee, given the wealth of sublime varieties available, with consumers becoming more aware of the origins and characteristics of speciality coffees. You don’t have to go far to find a coffee house or cafe selling speciality coffee, and those people who choose to brew it at home can now produce a quality cup worthy of the most competent barista. Whether it’s a cup first thing in the morning to set you up for the day, a mid-morning break, or meeting up with colleagues or friends, there are so many occasions when coffee seems the most obvious choice of beverage. But a question people often ask themselves is how many cups of coffee a day should I be drinking?

Studies have concluded that coffee can offer a number of health benefits. As well as containing nutrients and antioxidants, it’s thought that drinking coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and lower the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The caffeine in coffee can boost energy levels and mood, and help to burn fat. Some people, however, may wish to limit their caffeine intake, for although caffeine is a stimulant considered safe for most people, tolerance levels vary, and some may suffer negative effects from consuming too much, such as anxiety, high blood pressure, or insomnia. Since caffeine is also found in tea, energy drinks, and some medication, higher levels than desired can sometimes be consumed. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers may also wish to limit or eliminate it altogether. One way to enjoy quality coffee and cut down on the caffeine is to drink decaffeinated coffee, that contains just a trace of caffeine, but will still be as flavoursome as caffeinated coffees. The addition of milk, cream, or sugar to coffee should also be considered when deciding how much to drink, especially for those counting calories.

As with most things in life that are enjoyable, moderation is key, and having an understanding of how caffeine affects you personally will help you decide how many cups of coffee you feel you should drink. There’s an estimated 95 mg of caffeine in an average sized cup, although caffeine content can vary in different types of coffee. Current thinking suggests that limiting one’s intake to no more than 4 cups a day, or 400 mg of caffeine, is a sensible amount for most healthy adults, and perhaps the focus should be more on quality than quantity. However many cups you decide are right for you, make sure the coffee you drink is the best it can possibly be by using quality beans that are freshly roasted and ground, brewed in fresh water that is cold, clear and free from impurities. Then sit back, enjoy, and savour every drop.