Good news for coffee lovers: Research shows that drinking a moderate amount of (black) coffee could have some key, long-term health benefits.

That's according to New York Times columnist Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, writing for the Upshot. Carroll admits that his own parents wouldn't let him drink coffee for the (unjustified) fear that it would stunt his growth. To suss out whether that fear is merited, he went back and synthesized several meta-analyses, or studies of studies, related to coffee consumption and its effects on long-term health over the past few years. Low and behold: the beverage is not so evil as we tend to make it out to be. 

It's important to note, however, that by 'coffee', we're not talking about drinks that are chock-full of added sugars, milk, and carbohydrates: Carroll readily admits that items like the McDonald's mocha, the Starbucks frappucino, or the Dunkin Donuts Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta, for example, represent an entirely different category of drink that pose health risks of their own. Starbucks, for its part, announced on Monday that it's now serving a mini, 10-ounce frappucino--available now through July 6--which Time has aptly dubbed the 'Babyfrap.' 

Carroll also grants that the adage 'everything in moderation' still applies here, defining moderate as roughly 3-5 cups per day, although that figure varies across studies. 

Here's a recap of what he parses to be the potential health boons of your morning cup of joe:  

  1. Coffee may reduce cardiovascular disease and your risk of heart failure.
  1. Coffee may reduce your chances of having a stroke.   
  1. Coffee may reduce your risk of developing liver disease, and ultimately liver cancer. 
  1. Drinking coffee may reduce your risk of contracting neurological disorders, like Parkinson's disease, for instance.
  1. Coffee may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
  1. Coffee can even reduce your chances of death from "all causes."

Yes, you read that right: while it won't help you if you get hit by a car, fitting coffee into your daily routine might extend your natural life, according to two recent meta-analyses sampling millions of subjects from the British Journal of Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition. 

For more details, head over to Caroll's recap in The New York Times.

Published on: May 12, 2015