Why Coffee Is Good For You This Month

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

It seems hard to believe there was ever a time when people thought coffee was bad for you. If you pay attention to health news these days, you'll see a steady stream of studies linking coffee to good health. For one, a new report from Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee highlights how regular coffee drinking may decrease risk of type 2 diabetes. Drink up!

Studies have shown that ingesting three to four cups per day is linked to 25 percent less risk, compared to non coffee-drinkers. Each additional cup per day after that was linked to an additional 7 to 8 percent lower risk. And here's a gender gap that works in our favor, finally: The effect seems to be stronger for women than for men.

Ample evidence also shows that coffee may protect against liver cancer. A review published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology in late October analyzed 16 previous studies on the link. They found regular coffee drinkers were about 40 to 50 percent less likely to get hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. The effect might be related to coffee's likelihood to lower diabetes, which is known to trigger liver problems, said lead study author Carlo La Vecchia.

But while drinking coffee is no longer thought to be a bad habit, there is one old axiom about coffee that still holds true: Don't drink it before bed. Even if you can fall asleep after coffee, it may still mess with your sleep patterns. According to a study in the latest Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, drinking coffee six or less hours before bedtime significantly disrupts sleep quality.

Also, try not to burn yourself.