Is coffee bad for your stomach?

Published On: Aug 15 2012 11:51:07 AM EDT   Updated On: Aug 30 2012 10:53:51 AM EDT

(NewsUSA) - America's most used drug -- caffeine -- is also one of its most maligned. The nation drinks more coffee than any other beverage, yet thoughts about the morning mood-booster remain mixed. Does coffee amp brain power or blood pressure? Does it cause or prevent disease?

Studies suggest that coffee's safe. An analysis of 10 studies showed that, contrary to popular thought, drinking coffee doesn't increase health disease risk. In fact, one Iowa Women's Health Study of 27,000 women found that drinking moderate amounts of coffee -- no more than three cups per day -- reduced cardiovascular risk by 24 percent.

Harvard Women's Health Watch reported that drinking coffee lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, gallstones and Parkinson's disease. Caffeine enhances physical endurance and mental alertness. Coffee also contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage and boost immune function.

Of course, coffee does have its drawbacks. Dark beverages can stain teeth, and coffee proves no exception. To many, coffee can result in irritability, insomnia and upset stomachs.

Unless, that is, Americans choose to drink acid-free coffee, which promises all the benefits of a fresh cup without any unwanted side effects.

Americans hoping to enjoy coffee's health benefits should stick to one to three cups a day, since more coffee does not mean increased protection. Caffeine proves the most energizing in small doses -- it is better to drink two or three ounces every few hours than 21 ounces at breakfast.