Throughout most of my teens and 20s, I thwarted the FDA's excessive caffeine warning with gusto, routinely gulping down multiple cups of coffee, along with an energy drink or two. I was convinced it was the only way to power through the day as I worked multiple jobs while going to school full-time, all while grappling with chronic pain, eating disorders and clinical depression.

I now realize that regularly chugging caffeine like water likely did more harm than good.

According to a 2020 report by the National Coffee Association, the average American drinks a little more than three cups per day. That's well within the range of the FDA's recommended maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day (or about four or five 8 oz. cups), but far less than my reckless intake.

Coffee, in moderation, does have some substantial benefits. It's loaded with antioxidants and can improve mood and assuage depression. It may decrease the risk of