Coffee: 4-5 cups allowed

Coffee has had a bad name in health circles for a long time due to outdated science. I am here to help you enjoy your coffee and feel confident that you are starting your day in a healthy way! Drinking 4-5 cups (cup = 8 ounces or 230ml) throughout the day is a good thing and if you like your coffee should be enjoyed, not disregarded as another thing on the list of things to try to change.


It’s a myth that coffee is a diuretic. Coffee promotes hydration. Depending on how hydrated you are the body will retain almost all of the fluid contained in your cup. Healthy guidelines from around the world all advocate coffee as being a drink which can contribute to your fluid intake for the day.

Cognitive Function

When we are tired and feeling low this is when coffee holds most benefit for raising our levels of alertness, as well as feelings of positivity and wellness.  Having a quick coffee break at work can help you be more alert and productive.  All that advice from road safety organisations about stopping and having a coffee break if you are tired, is based on sound scientific evidence.  It really does work.  Everyone responds slightly differently to caffeine though.  Some people will be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you find it difficult to sleep after a late night coffee either change to a decaffeinated version or don’t have coffee late at night.   I am a first thing in the morning , but not after 6pm drinker, unless I’m staying up late.

Blood pressure

Some people think coffee is associated with an increase in blood pressure. If you don’t normally drink coffee and suddenly start drinking quite a lot, your body will respond with an increase in blood pressure, but will also accommodate the increase after about a week.  Unless you have been specifically advised not to drink coffee by a health professional there is no reason for you to drink other drinks if you prefer coffee.

Type 2 diabetes

Brewed coffee is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains chromium and magnesium both of which help the body use insulin; these may be the mediating factors. As diabetes carries an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, drinking your coffee means you simultaneously reduce your risk of these conditions.


Historically people thought coffee led to cancer but this is old science and associated with imbibing ridiculous amounts of caffeine on a daily basis – not the 4-5 cups that we talk about here.  Drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of many different types of cancer including breast and endometrial cancer, liver cancer and liver cirrhosis, bowel and aggressive prostate cancers.

Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

Coffee has been shown to reduce incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and reduce risk of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  For those who have already developed Parkinson’s Disease it may in some cases even reduce the ‘shakes’.

Coffee is a complex drink containing many thousands of different compounds and the health benefits of coffee are numerous and varied.  It’s difficult to link particular compounds with particular effects but the benefits are associated with moderate  drinking of 4-5 cups per day, and throughout the day.  Brewed, no-sugar, Americano, espresso, and non-fat versions preferred.

Felicity Lyons

Hi there! My name is Felicity. I am a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist with a proactive approach to healthy living. My job is to interpret the complexity of nutrition science and translate it into messages and guidance that you can understand. Healthy Living? It's easier than you think!