Feature Archive

Coffee and Your Health

Say it's so, Joe: The potential health benefits -- and drawbacks -- of coffee.

By Neil Osterweil
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Jonathan L. Gelfand, MD

Coffee may taste good and get you going in the morning, but what will it do for your health?

A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:

"There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health," says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

But (you knew there would be a "but," didn't you?) coffee isn't proven to prevent those conditions.

Researchers don't ask people to drink or skip coffee for the sake of science. Instead, they ask them about their coffee habits. Those studies can't show cause and effect. It's possible that coffee drinkers have other advantages, such as better diets, more exercise, or protective genes.