How Many Cups Of Coffee Can I Have In A Day?

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Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, switching ON your "attention" mode. It also disrupts sleep-regulating melatonin. The caffeine content in a drink depends on coffee bean type, extent beans are roasted, and type of drink. Limit yourself to 650 mg of caffeine per day (4 to 5 cups of regular brew coffee) to steer clear of side effects and benefit from its antioxidant and neurovascular properties.

Now, we know that you want the answer to be as many as you would like! But then, your daily pick-me-up is also a mug of caffeine and the body can only take so much in one day. Popular opinions swing like a pendulum from extolling the virtues of coffee to calling it a toxic drink. Surely there’s a moderate view that can help you decide how much coffee is just right? Let’s find out.

Caffeine In Coffee

Coffee is probably the most consumed drink on the planet. The caffeine in coffee is the star of the drink and the reason why so many of us reach out for it more than once a day. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and a lot has been written about its positive and negative health effects.1

Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain, which in turn causes the body to be more alert and shake off feelings of fatigue or drowsiness. A study on the effect of 200 mg of caffeine (that’s roughly 2 cups of coffee) on the melatonin hormone in humans that regulates the body clock, so to speak, showed that caffeine disturbs the cycle. It increases night wakefulness and reduces the depth or intensity of an important daily need – sleep. Coffee can come in handy when timed properly and in some conditions – say to overcome jetlag. But, otherwise, it is leading to more sleep disorders.2

The Magic Number

So how much coffee can you drink daily so you get its benefits like anti-oxidants but without disturbing the body too much?

The actual caffeine content varies with the types of coffee beans, how well they are roasted (light roast has more caffeine), and the type of drink you serve yourself. Your drink could range from a regular brewed coffee with about 80–100 mg of caffeine to instant coffee or an espresso, having roughly 40–70 mg per cup, to finally a decaffeinated drink with just about 3–4 mg in a cup.

The good news is that coffee does have positive health effects too, with its effect on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system leading to better attention, learning ability, and memory. It also has a positive role to play in coronary perfusion and diuresis. Phenol components of coffee, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, have an anti-oxidant action that works against aging and chronic degenerative disease. A study shows that the downside of coffee consumption kicks in only at about 650 mg per day. That’s about 4–5 cups of regular brew coffee and may be a few more espressos.3

Be mindful that coffee comes in many forms and take into account the calories and effects of the additional milk and sugar in each cup that you drink. You can certainly relish multiple cups of this aromatic drink in a day. But know that it can alter sleep patterns and consumption should, therefore, preferably peak in the morning and then taper down. If you are using coffee to literally stay awake at night, remember that a natural body pattern is being disturbed. You may need to give the body some time to recoup the next day.

So go forth and enjoy that cup of coffee. But try to stick to a moderate caffeine intake so that the coffee is doing you more good than harm!

References   [ + ]

1. de Mejia, Elvira Gonzalez, and Marco Vinicio Ramirez-Mares. “Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health.” Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism 25, no. 10 (2014): 489-492.
2. Landolt, Hans Peter. “Caffeine, the circadian clock, and sleep.” Science (New York, NY) 349, no. 6254 (2015): 1289-1289.
3. Viola, Publio. “Coffee and health.” Journal of applied cosmetology 23, no. 4 (2005): 129-137.