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Happy National Coffee Day! Here's 2020's Biggest Coffee News

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
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Starting the day with a cup of coffee (or two) is one of those few habits that seems to be much the same around the world—of course there are differences, but there's a reason the coffee industry is one of the biggest in the world.

So it's no surprise that every year there are a slew of new studies released investigating the potential health benefits of this favorite practice. To celebrate National Coffee Day 2020, we thought we'd dive into some of the exciting research we're read and expert tips we've heard this year about this immensely popular morning beverage:

1. More than two cups of coffee per day may lower body fat in women.

According to a study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in May, women who drink at least two cups of coffee each day may have lower body fat than women who don't drink coffee at all or even those who drink less than two cups.

To come to this conclusion, they studied the relationship between coffee consumption and total body fat in males and females between 20 and 69 years old. They found that women ages 20 to 44 years old who drank between two and three cups of coffee per day had 3.4% less body fat than infrequent coffee drinkers, while for the group aged between 45 and 69, that percentage was up to 4.1% lower body fat.

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2. Drinking coffee may help decrease the risk of neurodegenerative disease.

The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee released a report in December that found regular coffee drinking may lower future risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The report was based on the consideration of previous studies that assessed the impact of coffee drinking on the aforementioned disease. Based on the accumulated data, they concluded that there's a chance that "moderate" coffee drinking (three to five cups a day, according to the European Food Safety Authority) may help to decrease disease risk.

3. Scientists discover how to make the perfect cup of coffee (for cheaper).

A January study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth sought to find a way to make an amazing espresso—and succeeded in not only that, but they also made it at a lower price and with lower waste. While espresso is typically brewed using finely ground coffee and high pressure to force the water through, the project found that a little less grinding may benefit espresso.

"When beans were ground finely, the particles were so small that in some regions of the bed they clogged up the space where the water should be flowing," said researcher Jamie Foster, Ph.D. "These clogged sections of the bed are wasted because the water cannot flow through them and access that tasty coffee that you want in your cup. If we grind a bit coarser, we can access the whole bed and have a more efficient extraction."

4. Love coffee? Study finds caffeine is probably in your blood.

On a slightly wild note, researchers from Oregon State University published research in November that found that people who regularly drink coffee (and tea) may actually have caffeine traces in their bloodstream—but don't panic, it's probably not a big deal.

"From a 'contamination' standpoint, caffeine is not a big worry for patients, though it may be a commentary on current society," explained Luying Chen, a Ph.D. student who worked on the project. The study was also conducted on a small group, but it's interesting to think of how our little habits show up in our physical bodies.

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5. How much coffee is too much? Here's a trick to tell.

When he appeared on the mindbodygreen podcast, gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI, explained the simple way he keeps track of whether he's drinking a bit too much coffee (and too little water).

"If I notice my lips starting to get dry, that tells me I'm pushing the coffee more than I should," he said—specifically, he suggests thinking about how your lips are when you first wake up. Soft and moisturized? You're probably all good! But if they're flaky, it might be time to cut back on the coffee.

6. A doctor's tip for drinking coffee without the caffeine jitters.

If you're someone who has a low caffeine tolerance (or someone who likes to enjoy a few cups of coffee each day), this might be a strategy you should try to help keep yourself from getting too caffeinated.

"One way to optimize your intake is through microdosing, or consuming small amounts of caffeine throughout the day," explains gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D. "This might look like drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, and then only having green tea throughout the rest of the day. Or slowly sipping your coffee in the morning, which may help you drink around 10 mg or so of caffeine at a time."

All this got you craving a cuppa? Here's a list of Black-owned coffee roasters you can support online—plus, why you should consider buying coffee from Black-owned brands. We've also got plenty of tips for making your cup of coffee even better.

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