For a long time, caffeine has had a bad rap. Recent studies show that it may actually have some powerful health benefits. Just stick to two or three cups of coffee a day--that's been shown to be a safe intake.
Gallstones: Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health speculate that caffeine causes the gallbladder to contract, reducing the chance for gallstones to build up. A study of men between the ages of 40 and 75 found that coffee drinkers have fewer gallstones than those who don't drink it.
Parkinson's disease: Harvard researchers discovered that women who drank one to three cups of coffee a day cut their risk of developing Parkinson's disease in half. Drinking more than three cups, however, seems to reduce the positive effect.
Breast cancer: A Toronto study found that women who carry the BRCA I gene that puts them at risk for developing breast cancer can actually decrease that risk by drinking coffee. The study showed that those who drank six or more cups reduced their risk even more than those who drank between one and three cups.
Type 2 diabetes: A recent study from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis showed that women who drank more than six cups of coffee a day were 22 % less likely to develop type 2 diabetes--but those who preferred decaf reduced their risk even more, by 33 %. Therefore, the researchers speculate that the anitoxidants in coffee, not the caffeine, may provide the benefit.
So it's OK if you need a cup or two to get you going. Just avoid the sugar and cream which greatly increase the calories in your cup.