Misconception: The only thing you get from drinking coffee is a caffeine buzz.
Why its good for you: The average cup of coffee has hundreds of different chemical compounds. Maybe thats why news reports about coffee vacillate between lauding its health benefits and labeling it harmful. Still, the benefits of coffee seem to outweigh the negatives.
To name just a few: Some Arizona researchers recently discovered that caffeinated coffee helps improve memory in older adults. A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that small amounts of coffee consumed throughout the day can increase alertness and improve performance on all kinds of tasks, including those that require hand-to-eye coordination and attention to detail. Preliminary studies suggest regular coffee drinking may lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that people who drink a daily four to six cups have a 28 percent lower risk of developing this illness--which is fast becoming an epidemic in this country--than folks who drink less than two cups each day. Researchers arrived at those numbers by pooling the results of nine different studies from the United States and around the world. Speculation is that caffeine deserves the credit, though it could be an antioxidant phenolic compound called chlorogenic acid. (If you drink several cups, spread them throughout the day to prevent the jitters, and avoid coffee late in the day, which can interfere with sleep.)