Spend an afternoon hanging out in a Starbucks or Dunkin, and you’ll probably see a handful of teens—and maybe even some younger kids—stopping in for a cup of coffee. A 2017 industry report from the National Coffee Association found that the percentage of Americans aged 13 to 18 who drink coffee every day had risen to 37%, marking a 14-percentage-point increase since 2014.
The image of a 13-year-old drinking coffee seems somehow wrong—a child enjoying an adult’s habit. But there’s actually a lot of good in it. Recent studies have found that coffee consumption may lower a person’s risk for heart disease and early death. While coffee was once vilified, the prevailing wisdom these days is that if it isn’t messing with your sleep, it’s pretty much all upside. Research has also found that coffee contains several antioxidant compounds, including polyphenols, that seem to have healthy anti-inflammatory effects.