A new analysis by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) reveals that people are increasingly curious about the health effects associated with drinking coffee. Searches for “health benefits of drinking coffee” increased by 650% over the last 12 months and “benefits of black coffee” increased by 1,450% over the same period, as people look for more health information on one of the world’s most popular drinks.
The top ten health topics of interest range from levels of caffeine intake, to nutritional value and associations between coffee and a number of common health areas. Topping the list are searches related to ‘coffee and caffeine’, with people keen to understand exactly how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee.
The analysis includes global data from the last 12 months (Feb 2021 to Feb 2022) and was completed using a range of Google analytics tools such as Analytics, Search Console, Trends, and Keyword Planner.
ISIC analysed the data with the aim of better understanding current public knowledge levels and addressing any information needs on science and health research related to coffee and caffeine.
The top ten most-searched health topics are:
- Coffee and caffeine content
- Coffee and nutrition
- Coffee and dehydration
- Coffee and decaffeination
- Coffee and high blood pressure
- Coffee and metabolism
- Coffee and dementia
- Coffee and aroma
- Levels of caffeine consumption
- Coffee and sleep
A pan-European survey commissioned by ISIC also indicated changing habits as a result of the pandemic, with 42% of coffee-drinkers surveyed increasing their intake during lockdown and associated restrictions. A third(32%) said they tended to drink coffee at regular intervals to break up the day at home, or at times where they could relax (30%). In fact, 35% of coffee drinkers said they now appreciated their coffee breaks more1.
Dr. J. W. Langer, medical doctor, lecturer and science journalist commented on these emerging trends: “A new generation of people are now beginning to appreciate the complex nutritional components of their trusty morning drink, and the additional beneficial health effects that regular, moderate consumption may offer as part of a balanced diet. A fact that is supported by an increasing volume of scientific research.”
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concludes that moderate caffeine consumption, of around 400mg of caffeine per day, or the equivalent of up to 5 cups, can actually be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet and an active lifestyle2.
Caffeine is one of the key components in coffee, with a cup of coffee containing between 75-100mg caffeine. EFSA has concluded that a cause and effect relationship has been established between a 75mg serving of caffeine, and both increased attention (concentration) and alertness, mainly in situations of low arousal3. These effects can also extend to other situations requiring alertness and concentration, such as safety and performance during night shifts, night time driving and coping with jet lag4,5.
From a nutritional point of view, the main element in coffee is water. In fact, black coffee contains more than 95% water. Although there is significant interest in whether drinking coffee is associated with dehydration, research suggests that drinking coffee in moderation actually contributes to overall fluid intake, and does not lead to dehydration or significant loss of body fluid6-9.
In terms of nutrients, black coffee contains a number of micronutrients, notably potassium, magnesium and niacin, and overall black coffee contains only 1-2 kcal per 100ml10. It is worth noting that there are factors that can affect this, such as adding milk, cream or sugar to a drink.
Associations between coffee consumption and conditions such as Alzheimer’s are equally fascinating. Research suggests that lifelong regular consumption of coffee may have a protective effect in relation to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative conditions11-14. This is an area where future research will help in our understanding of these associations.
Finally, blood pressure was observed as another area of interest. Although the precise nature of the relationship between coffee and blood pressure is still unclear, research in this area suggests that overall coffee consumption is not associated with an increased risk of hypertension15,16.
Overall, moderate consumption of coffee – typically (400 mg)equivalent to 3-5 cups per day based on the European Food Safety Authority’s review of caffeine safety2 – has been associated with a range of desirable physiological effects in scientific literature and can fit within a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle17.
Readers interested in finding out more can visit www.coffeeandhealth.org, a science-based resource developed for healthcare and other professional audiences providing the latest information and research into coffee, caffeine and health.
Notes to editors
- Data analysed using Google Analytics, Google Trends, Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner between February 2021 and February 2022.
- Moderate coffee consumption can be defined as 3–5 cups per day, based on the European Food Safety Authority’s review of caffeine safety2.
- ISIC press office team contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org.