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Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

By Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN is a Registered Dietician Nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Texas Christian University and a master’s in nutrition interventions, communication, and behavior change from Tufts University. She lives in Newport Beach, California, and enjoys connecting people to the food they eat and how it influences health and wellbeing.

Image by Studio-Marmellata / Stocksy

June 23, 2024

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages across the globe. It’s a treasured morning ritual or a post-dinner tradition. But there still seems to be this belief that coffee isn’t really healthy, and consuming (especially) a lot of it is ill-advised. 

But research shows that couldn’t be further from the truth. Coffee drinkers are often healthier and live longer1 than non-coffee drinkers. And you’ll be surprised at just how many cups per day are ideal for optimal health benefits. 

How many cups of coffee a day support longevity?

Nutrition research isn’t always consistent, but studies on coffee continually show that drinking two to three (and even up to five) cups of coffee a day is best for your lifespan. 

While all-cause mortality measures the number of deaths from any cause in a population, it can be used to infer longevity—as low all-cause mortality rates typically indicate a higher life expectancy. 

This study found that consuming three cups of coffee a day may reduce the likelihood of all-cause mortality by 13%. 

A 2022 study also showed that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day is linked to significant reductions in mortality and heart disease. And drinking four to five cups daily was associated with the lowest risk of arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat).  

What makes coffee so healthy?

Coffee beans contain many beneficial bioactive ingredients. These include antioxidants like cholinergic acids3 and other polyphenols, theobromine4, lignans5, B vitamins, magnesium, and caffeine. 

Each of these compounds has research supporting its role in health, but they may have synergistic effects when consumed as a beverage. Research shows:

So by improving these aspects of health, coffee may contribute to a healthier and longer life. 

How to brew the healthiest cup of coffee

Making the perfect cup of coffee starts with choosing the right beans.

  • Choose whole coffee beans and grind them yourself before each use to maintain quality, freshness, and antioxidant content. 
  • Look for organic, fair-trade Arabica beans
  • Choose a coffee that’s been tested and is certified to be free of mold, mycotoxins, and other heavy metals and high in atioxidants.† If you’re drinking a lot of coffee, you want it to be as clean as possible (oh, and mindbodygreen’s clean coffee+ meets all these criteria).
  • Longer brewing methods—like cold brew and French press11—tend to extract higher amounts of antioxidants than other methods. But espresso and pour-over methods are still good choices. 
  • Be mindful of what you put in your coffee, and choose options low in added sugars (a fiber or protein supplement makes a great (and filling) addition to your morning cup of joe. 

Get the most antioxidants out of your coffee

“If I’m going to drink coffee, I want to make sure I’m getting as much of those polyphenols as possible—it’s like getting extra credit every time I make a cup. Our beans are grown and processed in a way that retains more of their beneficial plant compounds.”—mindbodygreen’s co-founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob.

The takeaway

If you’ve been hesitant to reach for that second or third cup of coffee, don’t be! Coffee provides a lot of beneficial plant compounds that improve health in a truly impressive number of ways.

Just don’t cloud its benefits by adding heaps of sweeteners to the final product. 

†Not detected or below detectable limits. mindbodygreen’s clean coffee+ undergoes comprehensive, third-party lab testing in the USA for hundreds of purity, potency, and sensory tests. Rigorously tested for caffeine, theobromine, polyphenols, heavy metals, yeast, mold, bacteria, mycotoxins, acrylamide, pesticides, solvents, acidity, and more—our premium, whole coffee beans exceed industry-leading quality standards for potency, purity, and taste experience.