My relationship with coffee has been a tumultuous one over the years.
When I was little, I was told it would stunt my growth. Even when I was allowed a tiny sip of my dad's coffee I thought it tasted like dirt. In high school I was a frequent customer at Starbucks, dropping $5 or more on drinks that tasted like milkshakes and maybe had an eye dropper-full of coffee in them.
And then I started college.
These days I have to have at least one cup of coffee to kickstart my day if I want to feel remotely human by the time I roll into work. On occasion I've been known to put down a full pot of coffee in a sitting; my record currently stands at a large family-sized carafe during a particularly brutal final exams week.
If you're anything like me, you don't have plans to give up coffee any time soon. And the good news, courtesy of the University of Southern California, is that we have another reason not to.
Results of a recent study suggest that drinking coffee may help cut the risk of colon cancer by as much as 50%. The link is so strong, researchers say, that the more coffee you drink, the more your risk decreases.
And this isn't just plain black coffee we're talking about here — the benefits are present no matter how you take your cup of joe, be it regular, decaf, espresso or instant. The cancer fighter in this case isn't caffeine but rather a series of antioxidant ingredients that are released during the roasting process, according to researchers.
These recent findings join dozens of other studies touting coffee's benefits, from helping prevent Type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of depression to even cutting the risk of dying prematurely (which, if true, means I might just live forever).
The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for my other caffeinated beverage of choice: Diet Coke. My relationship with it is more like a love-hate kind of deal, summed up perfectly by this Onion article.
So let's raise a mug (or two, or five) to coffee. May scientists continue to publish findings on its health benefits, and may you always have a fresh cup to help you tackle your busy days.
Emily Mongan is Staff Writer at McKnight's. Follow her @emmongan.