The desire to feel like a functioning human is reason enough for most coffee-lovers to consume the drink on the reg. But for anyone who’s not sold, research has also linked coffee to health benefits like a longer lifespan, lowered cancer risk, and boosted athletic performance.
Still, it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing—even cold brew. After all, while we know coffee is chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants like quinines and flavonoids, one espresso shot too many can leave you feeling shaky and anxious, and sometimes with an upset stomach. Plus, too much caffeine has been linked to high blood pressure, which ups your risk of heart disease.
So how many cups can you get away with before the risks outweigh the benefits? A new coffee study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionprovides an answer. Thankfully, the turning point that researchers landed on is pretty high: six cups per day.
To arrive there, researchers analyzed data from more than 347,000 people, which focused on participants’ daily coffee intake and whether they had heart disease. They found that compared to people who drink 1–2 cups per day, those who don’t drink coffee have an 11 percent higher risk of heart disease, and those who drink more than six daily cups have a 22 percent higher risk.
“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day,” study author, Dr. Elina Hyppönen. “Based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk.”
This isn’t the first study to provide a java sweet spot. Here’s what else science has to say about your coffee habit.
One to Three Cups a Day
This daily dose may slightly elevate your risk of high blood pressure, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. But those who drank less than one or more than three cups a day had no increased risk. Plus, another studyfound that women who drink two cups a day have an 11 percent lower risk of heart failure than those who drink less, while those who gulp down two to three cups are 25 percent less likely to die from heart disease and 18 percent less likely to die from any cause than non-drinkers, according to research in the Annals of Internal Medicine. (The exception: People who are genetically predisposed to metabolize caffeine slowly. For them, 2–3 cups can raise heart attack risk by 36 percent.)