Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa, Madagascar, and the Comoros, Mauritius and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The plant was exported from Africa to countries around the world and coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. Dried coffee seeds (referred to as beans) are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and brewed with near boiling water to produce coffee as a beverage.
Findings have been contradictory as to whether coffee has any specific health benefits, and results are similarly conflicting regarding the potentially harmful effects of coffee consumption. Furthermore, results and generalizations are complicated by differences in age, gender, health status, and serving size.
Extensive scientific research has been conducted to examine the relationship between coffee consumption and an array of medical conditions. The consensus in the medical community is that moderate regular coffee drinking in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial. Researchers involved in an ongoing 22-year study by the Harvard School of Public Health stated that “Coffee may have potential health benefits, but more research needs to be done