You might not be aware of it, but coffee is the key ingredient in most of our everyday coffee-drinking recipes.
A cup of joe can add up to a cup of coffee each day, and a coffee bean can be a valuable source of vitamin C. And yet, it can also have health effects.
In this special BBC News story, we take a look at some of the health issues around coffee and its effect on the body.
It is the first time we have ever used a real human being to answer a simple question, and it will make you think again about how you drink coffee and what you should be eating, says Jenny Belsky, the director of the Beverage and Dietetics Department at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“It’s about getting your body to produce more of a molecule called caffeine.
It’s the first molecule you think of as being beneficial,” she says.
The science behind coffee is still very young, so we will look at how caffeine interacts with other chemicals in our bodies.
We will also explore the effects of the daily use of coffee on the immune system, and how that might affect our health.
What are the health effects of coffee?
There is no doubt that coffee has health benefits.
It contains a large amount of antioxidants and other compounds which help to protect the body against many diseases.
It can reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
But does it really help?
“It has been found to help in some cases, but it’s still not proven,” says Dr Belski.
And it’s not clear if coffee is a healthy alternative to other coffee drinks, which include tea and decaf coffee.
Some studies suggest that coffee drinking may even increase the risk for some cancers, especially colon and breast cancer.
What you should know about coffee It is important to understand the health benefits of coffee.
“If you’re drinking coffee, you’re not drinking the healthiest diet possible,” says Jenny.
So, you should take steps to minimise your risk of coffee-related problems.
“Drinking a cup every day is the best way to get enough of the antioxidant compounds and other chemicals that are present in coffee,” says Belska.
If you are already consuming a high-fat diet, you can add a tablespoon or two of cocoa to your cup of tea.
That will help you to reduce your intake of sugar and fat, says Balsky.
And if you don’t drink coffee regularly, you might want to look into reducing your intake, or switching to a plant-based diet.
Here’s how to choose the right cup for you.
Choose the best drink for you The most important thing to do when choosing the best coffee is to drink it in moderation, says Dr Jenny Balskys.
She recommends choosing a cup that is around a tablespoon of the active ingredient, which is caffeine, which you can then enjoy at a slower pace.
“You should be drinking it slowly,” she adds.
“The best coffee will help with your metabolism, and your appetite.
And there are a number of ways you can go about reducing your caffeine intake, so it’s very important to drink a cup a day,” says the doctor.
Measure how much coffee you’re using When you’re buying coffee, ask what you’re getting, says the BBC’s health editor Jenny Blesky.
If it is coffee beans that you’re ordering, ask for a cup or two.
If not, ask your local coffee shop to check if there is a full cup of their product on sale.
“For me, it’s about a cup to two, so if you’re going for the ‘go to’ kind of coffee, I would suggest getting a little bit more than that,” she explains.
Try to choose one or two servings of coffee at a time There are many different kinds of coffee drinks available, but Dr Balski suggests choosing one or several to drink in a day.
“We need to be careful not to get a big dose of caffeine and then then have a big crash, so I think we can start with a little caffeine, but I also think it’s important to avoid a lot of caffeine, and that’s where a glass of water can be really helpful.”
Don’t be tempted to go overboard with caffeine If you’re worried about getting too much caffeine, try drinking a cup before and after work or socialising, says The Guardian’s health reporter Jenny Boesky.
“One thing I would say is, if you do have too much of it in your system, then you’re definitely not drinking enough coffee,” she tells the BBC.
“And if you have a bad night’s sleep, then that’s probably going to be even more of an issue, and you should probably be drinking a little less.”
Eat your greens before and during the day It