If you’re thirsty, pure water is always a good bet for a healthy beverage. But if you’re looking for a beverage to sip and savor while you start your day, take a work break, or relax in the evening, water doesn’t always hit the spot.
Fortunately, while there is no substitute for water (your body needs a healthy amount each and every day) there are other healthy beverages to choose from. Chief among those are coffee and tea, which should be good news to most of you, since these are among the most consumed beverages in the world.
Coffee has gotten a bad rap for health largely because 97 percent of it is sprayed with pesticides, and an artifact of optimizing for cost contaminates many of the beans with mycotoxins. Improper roasting is another area where toxins like acrylamide can creep in.
I am not saying this to justify my coffee addiction, because I do not enjoy the taste and have probably had less than five cups in my entire life, primarily to combat jet lag. To me the evidence is very clear: properly grown, harvested and roasted coffee can be very healthy.
Up to Five Cups of Coffee a Day Is OK – and Likely Good for You
In its recommendations for the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a government advisory committee, for the first time, said Americans could safely consume up to five cups of coffee a day, or approximately 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, with no detrimental effects.1
The recommendation was based on an evaluation of multiple meta-analyses and other studies evaluating the link between coffee and chronic diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
While coffee has long gotten a bad rap because of its caffeine content, it also contains beneficial antioxidants, including significant amounts of hydrocinnamic acid and polyphenols.
In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the US diet, with researchers noting “nothing else even comes close.”2 The antioxidants may even help neutralize the harsher effects of the caffeine that coffee naturally contains.3