9 benefits of coffee you may not know about, according to nutritionists

We know coffee keeps us awake and motivated but the other benefits of coffee are under-rated, according to nutritionists

Cup of black coffee in white china mug sitting on light pink background, representing the benefits of coffee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We all know the main benefits of coffee: to keep us motivated, alert, and on the move through the day. As it's estimated that around 70% of people in the UK start their day with a cup of joe, it's easy to see this benefit in action. But what about the other, lesser-known benefits of coffee?

In previous years, health experts have been among the first to warn us about coffee, spouting the negatives of the daily (or twice daily, at least) brew for everything from our heart health to our sleeping schedules. And sure, there is such a thing as too much coffee, but when you consume it in healthy amounts (just like anything else in life), it can do most people a world of good for both mind and body.

Here, nutritionists reveal the more unexpected benefits of coffee. So whether you want to discover the best coffee machines to get your fix at home or what too much caffeine does to the body, we have you covered. 

Benefits of coffee

1. Black coffee is anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a natural bodily process that helps our body recover from stressors and fight off infections. However, longer-term inflammation can cause lots of health issues. This is where some of the ingredients in black coffee come in handy, says Farzanah Nasser, a certified nutritionist. 

"My favourite benefit of coffee is that it is a simple way to get in a hit of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness through the polyphenols they contain, such as Chlorogenic Acid (CGAs). Inflammation and a lack of antioxidants can accelerate ageing, reduce energy, affect our skin, how we feel, and so much more that, so supporting levels through foods we love like coffee can be supportive of our overall health," she says. 

2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Research from the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne brought good news for coffee lovers: a study of 382,535 people without heart disease, half of whom were women with an average age of 57, found that having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10 - 15% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason. The strongest link was to one cup of coffee per day, but up to three cups a day was deemed beneficial by the researchers. 

"A consumption of around one to four cups of coffee per day has been shown to be safe and potentially even beneficial," says certified nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt

However, she warns: "Whilst some studies do suggest that coffee can contribute to a decreased risk of certain diseases, more high-quality studies are needed to draw any solid conclusion of the causality link."

Woman pouring black coffee from a French press coffee maker into mug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. It can support your liver health

It's rare to find a food or drink product that actually works with your liver instead of against it. If you're looking for healthier, liver-friendly alcohol alternatives then a black coffee (iced, perhaps?) should be on your list.

As Nasser says, "Coffee is considered a bitter food and it can be a great way to support the liver and digestive processes." 

According to a report by the British Liver Trust of the current available evidence, which includes more than 1,000 studies, regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee could help to prevent liver cancer, fibrosis (scar tissue that builds up within the liver) and cirrhosis. It can even slow the progression of liver disease in some patients, and all regardless of how the black coffee is prepared. 

So whether you prefer making your blend filtered through one of the best French press coffee makers, instant, or with an espresso machine, that's up to you. Either way, one of the biggest benefits of coffee is the impact it can have on your liver - the body's own detox system. 

4. Black coffee helps with healthy weight loss

"When it comes to coffee consumption and weight loss, around one to four cups of coffee per day has been linked to a decreased prevalence of obesity, although the reason why is quite inconsistent," says Svanfeldt, who is the resident nutritionist at Lifesum, one of the best health apps around as reviewed by us. 

One of the reasons why this could be, she suggests, is that coffee can help us manage our hunger levels without consuming too many calories, which leaves room for more nutritious foods. This is because, research from the University of New York suggests, coffee has an appetite-suppressing benefit to it as it triggers the release of the peptide YY hormone, meaning it reduces our feelings of hunger so we can move from one meal to another without the desire to snack. In the study, decaffeinated black coffee was found to be the most beneficial for this.

The more snacking that's done, especially on foods high in sugar and saturated fat, the more likely you are to move out of a calorie deficit for weight loss

"The caffeine can also make you feel more alert, which can aid everyday movement and sports performance, including endurance training," she adds, which is especially important as a combination of dietary changes and regular exercise is the best combination of sustainable, healthy weight loss. 

5. Black coffee can improve your gut health

It may surprise you to know - but coffee is actually one of the best gut-healthy foods out there, perfect if you're looking to learn how to improve your gut health

"Coffee consumption has been associated with changes in the gut microbiome," explains Nasser. "Coffee contains both fibre and polyphenols that help feed and nourish our microbes, with the average filter coffee containing about 1.5 grams of fibre. Compare this to a banana which has 2g of fibre or half a cup of blueberries which contains about 1.8 grams of fibre. Many of us are getting fibre in our diets simply by drinking coffee." 

Woman sipping on iced black coffee out of takeaway cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Black coffee can help make intermittent fasting programmes easier

Intermittent fasting programmes like the 5:2 diet are popular ways to lose weight. As they reduce the amount of eating time in a day, people eat fewer calories throughout the day, often pushing them into a strong deficit. 

If you're thinking about doing intermittent fasting, for whatever reason, Svanfeldt says coffee can help you along. "Black coffee (and tea), in moderate amounts, can help to manage hunger feelings when doing intermittent fasting," she says. "Sipping on a warm cup of coffee can help to make it easier to last until it’s time to break the fast. It also provides caffeine, which makes you alert and feel energized without breaking your fast." 

However, she says, "When doing intermittent fasting, there are a few important things to bear in mind, such as making sure you get enough nutrients and a sufficient amount of energy during the eating window."

7. It's easy to add additional nutritional products to black coffee

Naturally, milk or one of the best milk alternatives is an easy addition to coffee that some people find makes it taste better or adds additional nutritional benefits. Along with milk, there are other supplements you can add to cover to increase the positive effect it can have on the body. 

Coffee with olive oil, for instance, was one of the latest coffee trends to sweep social media. Whilst it might sound unappealing to many, it's a good idea if you're looking to increase your fullness through the day as olive oil contains healthy amounts of unsaturated fat. 

"Unsaturated fats are important for our hormones and our cells to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for our heart health. Consuming healthy fats in your meals slows down the digestion and absorption of the foods, which can provide a slower blood sugar rise," says Svanfeldt. "Although there are other tastier ways to consume olive oil than to add it to your coffee, go ahead! Olive oil is a great food item to include in an overall healthy and balanced diet." 

8. Black coffee can improve long-term memory

We know that coffee keeps us alert and focused, but did you know it can also improve your memory? Research linked to the New York University of Technology reviewed numerous studies on the subject and found that caffeine had a hugely positive effect on both short-term and long-term memory in adults and elderly people. The study also found that participants' processing speed, mood, and attention span all improved as well. 

These aren't just the benefits of coffee though. If you're struggling to get on board with a black coffee, try one of the many healthy alternatives to coffee instead, like matcha tea or energy drinks. 

9. Coffee improves your mood

It's not just that wide-awake feeling coffee gives us that improves our mood though. There are actually properties in coffee that alter the production of chemicals in the brain when we sit down to have a drink, research by King Saud University reveals.

Caffeine stimulation the central nervous system, which in turn triggers the release of various neurotransmitters, three of which can alter our mood. These are noradrenaline, which plays a vital role in the body's fight or flight response; dopamine, which is linked to feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, and motivation; and serotonin, which influences how capabilities to learn, retain memories, feel happy and more confident, regulate our body temperature, sleep better, have better sex, and reduce hunger. 

A further survey of 5,000 people in the UK and European countries, including France, Spain, and Italy, also suggests that coffee is an excellent way to reduce symptoms of SAD (seasonal affectiveness disorder) in the winter months. The research, which is linked to the French National Institute of Health and Medical Researchfound that almost one in three adults experience symptoms of depression when the daylight hours decrease, but 75mg of caffeine (about one cup) every four hours could help reduce this, thanks to the energy-creating effect of the beverage. 

How much coffee is healthy?

The NHS advises up to four cups of coffee a day, says Nasser, given this is the maximum recommended 400mg of caffeine. But even if you could stomach that amount of coffee, you'd stop experiencing the helpful benefits of coffee with this amount so sticking to a cup or two per day is best. 

"I would suggest having a cup or two daily if you enjoy and tolerate it, aiming to drink it after breakfast and before 2:00 pm," says the nutritionist. "After breakfast so that it supports healthy blood sugar and before 2:00 pm so that it doesn’t negatively affect your sleep." 

However, much like everything else when it comes to our diet and wellbeing, how much coffee you drink depends on your personal circumstances. "How much coffee you drink depends on whether you tolerate coffee well or not, and how you break the coffee down, which will be dictated by your genes," she explains. "If coffee doesn't suit you, opt for decaf instead to reap the benefits." 

If you do opt for decaf coffee, ensure that the substance is clean, she adds. "The extraction method should be one like the Swiss Water Process that doesn't use chemicals. Alternatively, do a mix of half decaf and half caffeinated coffee."  

We all know the main benefits of black coffee: to keep us motivated, alert, and on the move through the day. As it's estimated that around 70% of people in the UK start their day with a cup of joe, it's easy to see this benefit in action. But what about the other, lesser-known benefits of coffee?

In previous years, health experts have been among the first to warn us about coffee, spouting the negatives of the daily (or twice daily, at least) brew for everything from our heart health to our sleeping schedules. And sure, there is such a thing as too much coffee, but when you consume it in healthy amounts (just like anything else in life), it can do most people a world of good for both mind and body.

Here, nutritionists reveal the more unexpected benefits of black coffee. So whether you want to discover the best coffee machines to get your fix at home or what too much caffeine does to the body, we have you covered. 

Benefits of black coffee

1. Black coffee is anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a natural bodily process that helps our body recover from stressors and fight off infections. However, longer-term inflammation can cause lots of health issues. This is where some of the ingredients in black coffee come in handy, says Farzanah Nasser, a certified nutritionist. 

"My favourite benefit of coffee is that it is a simple way to get in a hit of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness through the polyphenols they contain, such as Chlorogenic Acid (CGAs). Inflammation and a lack of antioxidants can accelerate ageing, reduce energy, affect our skin, how we feel, and so much more that, so supporting levels through foods we love like coffee can be supportive of our overall health," she says. 

2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Research from the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne brought good news for coffee lovers: a study of 382,535 people without heart disease, half of whom were women with an average age of 57, found that having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10 - 15% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason. The strongest link was to one cup of coffee per day, but up to three cups a day was deemed beneficial by the researchers. 

"A consumption of around one to four cups of coffee per day has been shown to be safe and potentially even beneficial," says certified nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt

However, she warns: "Whilst some studies do suggest that coffee can contribute to a decreased risk of certain diseases, more high-quality studies are needed to draw any solid conclusion of the causality link."

Woman pouring black coffee from a French press coffee maker into mug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. It can support your liver health

It's rare to find a food or drink product that actually works with your liver instead of against it. If you're looking for healthier, liver-friendly alcohol alternatives then a black coffee (iced, perhaps?) should be on your list.

As Nasser says, "Coffee is considered a bitter food and it can be a great way to support the liver and digestive processes." 

According to a report by the British Liver Trust of the current available evidence, which includes more than 1,000 studies, regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee could help to prevent liver cancer, fibrosis (scar tissue that builds up within the liver) and cirrhosis. It can even slow the progression of liver disease in some patients, and all regardless of how the black coffee is prepared. 

So whether you prefer making your blend filtered through one of the best French press coffee makers, instant, or with an espresso machine, that's up to you. Either way, one of the biggest benefits of black coffee is the impact it can have on your liver - the body's own detox system. 

4. Black coffee helps with healthy weight loss

"When it comes to coffee consumption and weight loss, around one to four cups of coffee per day has been linked to a decreased prevalence of obesity, although the reason why is quite inconsistent," says Svanfeldt, who is the resident nutritionist at Lifesum, one of the best health apps around as reviewed by us. 

One of the reasons why this could be, she suggests, is that coffee can help us manage our hunger levels without consuming too many calories, which leaves room for more nutritious foods. This is because, research from the University of New York suggests, coffee has an appetite-suppressing benefit to it as it triggers the release of the peptide YY hormone, meaning it reduces our feelings of hunger so we can move from one meal to another without the desire to snack. In the study, decaffeinated black coffee was found to be the most beneficial for this.

The more snacking that's done, especially on foods high in sugar and saturated fat, the more likely you are to move out of a calorie deficit for weight loss

"The caffeine can also make you feel more alert, which can aid everyday movement and sports performance, including endurance training," she adds, which is especially important as a combination of dietary changes and regular exercise is the best combination of sustainable, healthy weight loss. 

5. Black coffee can improve your gut health

It may surprise you to know - but coffee is actually one of the best gut-healthy foods out there, perfect if you're looking to learn how to improve your gut health

"Coffee consumption has been associated with changes in the gut microbiome," explains Nasser. "Coffee contains both fibre and polyphenols that help feed and nourish our microbes, with the average filter coffee containing about 1.5 grams of fibre. Compare this to a banana which has 2g of fibre or half a cup of blueberries which contains about 1.8 grams of fibre. Many of us are getting fibre in our diets simply by drinking coffee." 

Woman sipping on iced black coffee out of takeaway cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Black coffee can help make intermittent fasting programmes easier

Intermittent fasting programmes like the 5:2 diet are popular ways to lose weight. As they reduce the amount of eating time in a day, people eat fewer calories throughout the day, often pushing them into a strong deficit. 

If you're thinking about doing intermittent fasting, for whatever reason, Svanfeldt says coffee can help you along. "Black coffee (and tea), in moderate amounts, can help to manage hunger feelings when doing intermittent fasting," she says. "Sipping on a warm cup of coffee can help to make it easier to last until it’s time to break the fast. It also provides caffeine, which makes you alert and feel energized without breaking your fast." 

However, she says, "When doing intermittent fasting, there are a few important things to bear in mind, such as making sure you get enough nutrients and a sufficient amount of energy during the eating window."

7. It's easy to add additional nutritional products to black coffee

Naturally, milk or one of the best milk alternatives is an easy addition to coffee that some people find makes it taste better or adds additional nutritional benefits. Along with milk, there are other supplements you can add to cover to increase the positive effect it can have on the body. 

Coffee with olive oil, for instance, was one of the latest coffee trends to sweep social media. Whilst it might sound unappealing to many, it's a good idea if you're looking to increase your fullness through the day as olive oil contains healthy amounts of unsaturated fat. 

"Unsaturated fats are important for our hormones and our cells to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for our heart health. Consuming healthy fats in your meals slows down the digestion and absorption of the foods, which can provide a slower blood sugar rise," says Svanfeldt. "Although there are other tastier ways to consume olive oil than to add it to your coffee, go ahead! Olive oil is a great food item to include in an overall healthy and balanced diet." 

8. Black coffee can improve long-term memory

We know that coffee keeps us alert and focused, but did you know it can also improve your memory? Research linked to the New York University of Technology reviewed numerous studies on the subject and found that caffeine had a hugely positive effect on both short-term and long-term memory in adults and elderly people. The study also found that participants' processing speed, mood, and attention span all improved as well. 

These aren't just the benefits of black coffee though. If you're struggling to get on board with a black coffee, try one of the many healthy alternatives to coffee instead, like matcha tea or energy drinks. 

9. Coffee improves your mood

It's not just that wide-awake feeling coffee gives us that improves our mood though. There are actually properties in coffee that alter the production of chemicals in the brain when we sit down to have a drink, research by King Saud University reveals.

Caffeine stimulation the central nervous system, which in turn triggers the release of various neurotransmitters, three of which can alter our mood. These are noradrenaline, which plays a vital role in the body's fight or flight response; dopamine, which is linked to feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, and motivation; and serotonin, which influences how capabilities to learn, retain memories, feel happy and more confident, regulate our body temperature, sleep better, have better sex, and reduce hunger. 

A further survey of 5,000 people in the UK and European countries, including France, Spain, and Italy, also suggests that coffee is an excellent way to reduce symptoms of SAD (seasonal affectiveness disorder) in the winter months. The research, which is linked to the French National Institute of Health and Medical Researchfound that almost one in three adults experience symptoms of depression when the daylight hours decrease, but 75mg of caffeine (about one cup) every four hours could help reduce this, thanks to the energy-creating effect of the beverage. 

How much coffee is healthy?

The NHS advises up to four cups of coffee a day, says Nasser, given this is the maximum recommended 400mg of caffeine. But even if you could stomach that amount of coffee, you'd stop experiencing the helpful benefits of black coffee with this amount so sticking to a cup or two per day is best. 

"I would suggest having a cup or two daily if you enjoy and tolerate it, aiming to drink it after breakfast and before 2:00 pm," says the nutritionist. "After breakfast so that it supports healthy blood sugar and before 2:00 pm so that it doesn’t negatively affect your sleep." 

However, much like everything else when it comes to our diet and wellbeing, how much coffee you drink depends on your personal circumstances. "How much coffee you drink depends on whether you tolerate coffee well or not, and how you break the coffee down, which will be dictated by your genes," she explains. "If coffee doesn't suit you, opt for decaf instead to reap the benefits." 

If you do opt for decaf coffee, ensure that the substance is clean, she adds. "The extraction method should be one like the Swiss Water Process that doesn't use chemicals. Alternatively, do a mix of half decaf and half caffeinated coffee."  

We all know the main benefits of black coffee: to keep us motivated, alert, and on the move through the day. As it's estimated that around 70% of people in the UK start their day with a cup of joe, it's easy to see this benefit in action. But what about the other, lesser-known benefits of coffee?

In previous years, health experts have been among the first to warn us about coffee, spouting the negatives of the daily (or twice daily, at least) brew for everything from our heart health to our sleeping schedules. And sure, there is such a thing as too much coffee, but when you consume it in healthy amounts (just like anything else in life), it can do most people a world of good for both mind and body.

Here, nutritionists reveal the more unexpected benefits of black coffee. So whether you want to discover the best coffee machines to get your fix at home or what too much caffeine does to the body, we have you covered. 

Benefits of black coffee

1. Black coffee is anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is a natural bodily process that helps our body recover from stressors and fight off infections. However, longer-term inflammation can cause lots of health issues. This is where some of the ingredients in black coffee come in handy, says Farzanah Nasser, a certified nutritionist. 

"My favourite benefit of coffee is that it is a simple way to get in a hit of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness through the polyphenols they contain, such as Chlorogenic Acid (CGAs). Inflammation and a lack of antioxidants can accelerate ageing, reduce energy, affect our skin, how we feel, and so much more that, so supporting levels through foods we love like coffee can be supportive of our overall health," she says. 

2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Research from the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne brought good news for coffee lovers: a study of 382,535 people without heart disease, half of whom were women with an average age of 57, found that having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10 - 15% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason. The strongest link was to one cup of coffee per day, but up to three cups a day was deemed beneficial by the researchers. 

"A consumption of around one to four cups of coffee per day has been shown to be safe and potentially even beneficial," says certified nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt

However, she warns: "Whilst some studies do suggest that coffee can contribute to a decreased risk of certain diseases, more high-quality studies are needed to draw any solid conclusion of the causality link."

Woman pouring black coffee from a French press coffee maker into mug

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. It can support your liver health

It's rare to find a food or drink product that actually works with your liver instead of against it. If you're looking for healthier, liver-friendly alcohol alternatives then a black coffee (iced, perhaps?) should be on your list.

As Nasser says, "Coffee is considered a bitter food and it can be a great way to support the liver and digestive processes." 

According to a report by the British Liver Trust of the current available evidence, which includes more than 1,000 studies, regularly drinking moderate amounts of coffee could help to prevent liver cancer, fibrosis (scar tissue that builds up within the liver) and cirrhosis. It can even slow the progression of liver disease in some patients, and all regardless of how the black coffee is prepared. 

So whether you prefer making your blend filtered through one of the best French press coffee makers, instant, or with an espresso machine, that's up to you. Either way, one of the biggest benefits of black coffee is the impact it can have on your liver - the body's own detox system. 

4. Black coffee helps with healthy weight loss

"When it comes to coffee consumption and weight loss, around one to four cups of coffee per day has been linked to a decreased prevalence of obesity, although the reason why is quite inconsistent," says Svanfeldt, who is the resident nutritionist at Lifesum, one of the best health apps around as reviewed by us. 

One of the reasons why this could be, she suggests, is that coffee can help us manage our hunger levels without consuming too many calories, which leaves room for more nutritious foods. This is because, research from the University of New York suggests, coffee has an appetite-suppressing benefit to it as it triggers the release of the peptide YY hormone, meaning it reduces our feelings of hunger so we can move from one meal to another without the desire to snack. In the study, decaffeinated black coffee was found to be the most beneficial for this.

The more snacking that's done, especially on foods high in sugar and saturated fat, the more likely you are to move out of a calorie deficit for weight loss

"The caffeine can also make you feel more alert, which can aid everyday movement and sports performance, including endurance training," she adds, which is especially important as a combination of dietary changes and regular exercise is the best combination of sustainable, healthy weight loss. 

5. Black coffee can improve your gut health

It may surprise you to know - but coffee is actually one of the best gut-healthy foods out there, perfect if you're looking to learn how to improve your gut health

"Coffee consumption has been associated with changes in the gut microbiome," explains Nasser. "Coffee contains both fibre and polyphenols that help feed and nourish our microbes, with the average filter coffee containing about 1.5 grams of fibre. Compare this to a banana which has 2g of fibre or half a cup of blueberries which contains about 1.8 grams of fibre. Many of us are getting fibre in our diets simply by drinking coffee." 

Woman sipping on iced black coffee out of takeaway cup

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Black coffee can help make intermittent fasting programmes easier

Intermittent fasting programmes like the 5:2 diet are popular ways to lose weight. As they reduce the amount of eating time in a day, people eat fewer calories throughout the day, often pushing them into a strong deficit. 

If you're thinking about doing intermittent fasting, for whatever reason, Svanfeldt says coffee can help you along. "Black coffee (and tea), in moderate amounts, can help to manage hunger feelings when doing intermittent fasting," she says. "Sipping on a warm cup of coffee can help to make it easier to last until it’s time to break the fast. It also provides caffeine, which makes you alert and feel energized without breaking your fast." 

However, she says, "When doing intermittent fasting, there are a few important things to bear in mind, such as making sure you get enough nutrients and a sufficient amount of energy during the eating window."

7. It's easy to add additional nutritional products to black coffee

Naturally, milk or one of the best milk alternatives is an easy addition to coffee that some people find makes it taste better or adds additional nutritional benefits. Along with milk, there are other supplements you can add to cover to increase the positive effect it can have on the body. 

Coffee with olive oil, for instance, was one of the latest coffee trends to sweep social media. Whilst it might sound unappealing to many, it's a good idea if you're looking to increase your fullness through the day as olive oil contains healthy amounts of unsaturated fat. 

"Unsaturated fats are important for our hormones and our cells to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and for our heart health. Consuming healthy fats in your meals slows down the digestion and absorption of the foods, which can provide a slower blood sugar rise," says Svanfeldt. "Although there are other tastier ways to consume olive oil than to add it to your coffee, go ahead! Olive oil is a great food item to include in an overall healthy and balanced diet." 

8. Black coffee can improve long-term memory

We know that coffee keeps us alert and focused, but did you know it can also improve your memory? Research linked to the New York University of Technology reviewed numerous studies on the subject and found that caffeine had a hugely positive effect on both short-term and long-term memory in adults and elderly people. The study also found that participants' processing speed, mood, and attention span all improved as well. 

These aren't just the benefits of black coffee though. If you're struggling to get on board with a black coffee, try one of the many healthy alternatives to coffee instead, like matcha tea or energy drinks. 

9. Coffee improves your mood

It's not just that wide-awake feeling coffee gives us that improves our mood though. There are actually properties in coffee that alter the production of chemicals in the brain when we sit down to have a drink, research by King Saud University reveals.

Caffeine stimulation the central nervous system, which in turn triggers the release of various neurotransmitters, three of which can alter our mood. These are noradrenaline, which plays a vital role in the body's fight or flight response; dopamine, which is linked to feelings of satisfaction, pleasure, and motivation; and serotonin, which influences how capabilities to learn, retain memories, feel happy and more confident, regulate our body temperature, sleep better, have better sex, and reduce hunger. 

A further survey of 5,000 people in the UK and European countries, including France, Spain, and Italy, also suggests that coffee is an excellent way to reduce symptoms of SAD (seasonal affectiveness disorder) in the winter months. The research, which is linked to the French National Institute of Health and Medical Researchfound that almost one in three adults experience symptoms of depression when the daylight hours decrease, but 75mg of caffeine (about one cup) every four hours could help reduce this, thanks to the energy-creating effect of the beverage. 

How much coffee is healthy?

The NHS advises up to four cups of coffee a day, says Nasser, given this is the maximum recommended 400mg of caffeine. But even if you could stomach that amount of coffee, you'd stop experiencing the helpful benefits of black coffee with this amount so sticking to a cup or two per day is best. 

"I would suggest having a cup or two daily if you enjoy and tolerate it, aiming to drink it after breakfast and before 2:00 pm," says the nutritionist. "After breakfast so that it supports healthy blood sugar and before 2:00 pm so that it doesn’t negatively affect your sleep." 

However, much like everything else when it comes to our diet and wellbeing, how much coffee you drink depends on your personal circumstances. "How much coffee you drink depends on whether you tolerate coffee well or not, and how you break the coffee down, which will be dictated by your genes," she explains. "If coffee doesn't suit you, opt for decaf instead to reap the benefits." 

If you do opt for decaf coffee, ensure that the substance is clean, she adds. "The extraction method should be one like the Swiss Water Process that doesn't use chemicals. Alternatively, do a mix of half decaf and half caffeinated coffee."