As a work from home mom with a toddler and a puppy, I was heartened to read that my caffeine addiction (though I’d argue it’s more of a necessity during this stage of life) might not be so terrible for my health after all.

A recent study found that drinking 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day, or what’s considered “moderate amounts” does more good than harm to the human body. Drink more than 4 cups a day? That might not be harmful, but the benefits of coffee drinking become less pronounced.

The umbrella ttudy found moderate coffee drinkers are less likely to experience heart disease, Parkinson’s, some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, in addition to having healthier livers.

Robin Poole, who penned the study’s results, writes at The Conversation:

Overall, our umbrella analysis showed that drinking coffee is more often linked with benefits than harms. For some conditions, the largest benefit appeared to be associated with drinking three to four cups of coffee each day. This included lower risk of death from any causes, or getting heart disease. Drinking coffee beyond these amounts was not associated with harm, but the benefits were less pronounced.

Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gallstones, renal stones and gout. We also found that it was associated with a lower risk of getting some types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. But liver diseases stood out as having the greatest benefit compared with other conditions.

Reassuringly, harms were not apparent apart from during pregnancy when coffee drinking was linked to low birth weight, premature birth (in the first six months of pregnancy) and miscarriage. This is not new knowledge, and there are guidelines for limiting caffeine intake in pregnancy. We also found a small increase in risk of fracture in women, but there is some discrepancy in the evidence and further investigation is needed.

Poole cautions against upping coffee intake simply to obtain the health benefits and instead advises, “what we can say is that people who already enjoy moderate amounts of coffee as part of their diet are most probably getting health benefits from it, rather than harm.”

It’s also worth noting that the study did not look at coffee drinks that are typically chock-full of sugar and dairy.

Meanwhile, if you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen brewing my afternoon pot of coffee.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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