March 18, 2017—We like our coffee. Most Americans drink at least 1 cup of it every day, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
But how much do you know about our favorite morning beverage? Here are eight interesting facts about coffee that might surprise you:
1. Coffee is a major source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that appear to have health benefits. And Americans drink enough coffee to make it one of the biggest sources of antioxidants in our diet, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Coffee also contains small amounts of nutrients like potassium, niacin, vitamin E and magnesium.
2. Coffee may prevent cancer. According to the ACS, more than 1,000 studies into coffee's potential effects on cancer have linked coffee to a lower risk for prostate cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and some cancers of the mouth and throat. Here's the stickler: The benefits often were restricted to people who drank 4 to 6 cups a day—more than the three 8-ounce cups the Academy considers a healthy moderate amount.
3. Coffee may help your heart. Some studies have found drinking coffee to be associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. But moderation matters: High doses of caffeine can cause an increased heart and breathing rate.
4. Espresso is not super-caffeinated coffee. An 8-ounce cup of regular joe contains about 130 milligrams of caffeine. A shot of espresso has only about 75 milligrams of caffeine. What about energy drinks? They contain about 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce dose.
5. There's "caf" in your decaf! An 8-ounce cup of decaffeinated coffee actually contains about 4 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Academy.
6. It keeps you up—for hours. It's fairly well known that drinking coffee late in the day can mess with your sleep. But the coffee cut-off time may be earlier than you think. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), one study found that drinking caffeine as much as six hours before bedtime can reduce your sleep by a full hour.
7. It can upset your stomach. The AASM also notes that high doses of caffeine can cause unwanted side effects—including diarrhea and nausea.
8. Coffee's on the heartburn list. Consuming coffee isn't recommended for people with digestive problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to the National Institutes of Health, coffee can worsen GERD symptoms in the same way tomatoes, alcohol, greasy or spicy foods, and chocolate can.