It’s hot or it’s cold. It’s black or it’s white. But is it wrong or is it right?

We’ve often been warned about coffee’s diuretic effect and the alleged link between an increased risk in heart disease and high coffee consumption. But do they check out?

Coffee can make you smarter

Excessive caffeine intake is linked to disturbed sleep, anxiety and dehydration. However, in controlled doses, it can help improve cognitive ability. A study published by Dr Carrie Ruxton in the United Kingdom concluded that a maximum of four standard cups of brewed coffee a day, or approximately 400mg of caffeine or less, can improve mood, cognitive function and physical performance with minimal risk of negative side effects associated with coffee such as dehydration.

Coffee may reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

According to another study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, caffeine is also possibly a protective agent against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.   What the study found was that three to five cups of coffee a day during midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and could reduce the risk in later life by up to 65 percent.

Coffee may reduce risk of diabetes

There is evidence that suggests that coffee may be beneficial for sufferers of Type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains polyphenols, a molecule with antioxidant properties that are widely believed to help prevent inflammatory diseases. Coffee also contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium which can help improve insulin sensitivity.

There is a caveat, however. According to research conducted over a four-week period on diabetic patients, regular high caffeine consumption actually made them less sensitive to insulin. The researchers themselves also noted that sudden increase in caffeine intake could also have affected the results.

Coffee makes an excellent facial scrub

Caffeine is well known for its energising effect even on the skin; coffee grounds make an excellent skin exfoliator due to its texture while caffeine can help with toning and reducing puffiness in the skin. For an energised start to the day or whenever you need a pick-me-up, you can simply apply a DIY scrub on your skin made from leftover grounds from your morning brew, some olive oil and a drop or two of your favourite essential oil.

Coffee can help you live longer

The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study conducted by Harvard University on the longer term effects of coffee intake on over 130,000 volunteers showed that both men and women have a reduced risk of disease and premature death resulting from disease by drinking coffee. The studies were conducted over a period of 18 to 24 years with a result of almost 26 percent lower risk of death in women and 20 percent lower risk for men.

Consistent with their findings, recent meta-analyses that combined data from all published prospective studies on coffee and its link with risk of cardiovascular diseases or premature mortality did not show any increase in risk for those who drink coffee often than those who do not drink coffee at all.

Coffee can help to fight depression

In another study published by Harvard University in 2011, it was found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to become clinically depressed. A similar study that surveyed more than two hundred thousand people, show those drinking a similar amount to the Harvard study were 53 percent less likely to commit suicide.