Okay, so maybe water is the real reigning champion, but you can’t just drink water all day, right? Taking water out of the equation, as an optional beverage, coffee must be considered the greatest drink of all time. Why coffee and not tea, or fruit juice, or some other “natural” drink? Here are a few reasons:

- European Science Foundation research suggested that moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risk of diabetes by as much as 25 percent.

- Coffee may help reduce the likelihood of breast cancer returning in those who are taking the treatment drug Tamoxifen.

- According to research published by the Mayo Clinic, coffee intake can lower the chance of contracting primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), which is a disease of the liver that can lead to cirrhosis or liver failure.

- Coffee contains stimulants that block (jargon-alert) an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which increases the firing of neurons and release of dopamine and norepinephrine (good stuff).

- The caffeine in coffee releases adrenaline, which sends signals to fat tissues to break down fat, allowing them for use in the blood.

- Coffee can increase your metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent, increasing fat burning in lean people by as much as 29 percent.

- Caffeine can improve athletic performance by 11 to 12 percent on average.

- Coffee blots out the appetite, making you less hungry, which can help in long-term weight loss.

- Coffee can make you smarter, improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance, and general cognitive function. It can also cut the risk of crashing your car by 63 percent.

- Coffee may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 60 percent, and Parkinson’s by 32 to 60 percent.

- Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, where four cups per day can make up as much as 40 percent of the daily requirement for Riboflavin and decent (8 percent) to high (18 percent) amounts of others.

- All of these things add up to a 30 percent lower risk of death by all causes, according to two large epidemiological studies, particularly for type II diabetics.

This is not to say that you should rush out and buy Starbucks lattes or caramel Frappuccinos every day of your life; in many cases, the sugar-loaded drinks that masquerade as “coffee” are pure BS. They may include a shot of espresso, or a small amount of coffee, but what we’re talking about as far as benefits are concerned is mostly the basic cups of black coffee, with maybe a little sugar and cream. Sorry if that deflates your bubble a little bit, but perhaps knowing how beneficial coffee can be will give you a reason to try to drink a cup a day – and you might even start liking the taste!