You know how it goes. If you follow news in the medical community for long enough, it seems like everything comes full circle. First, eggs were good for you. Then, they were bad. Then, they were good again. Milk went through the same cycle, as has just about everything else. So, what about coffee? Is it considered good or bad these days?

Actually, the answer is a little of both.

It turns out that coffee has a variety of good effects. Some of them, you already know, like the short-term boost to productivity and alertness. Others, you may not know, like the fact that men who consume moderate amounts of coffee have a 30 percent lower chance of getting prostate cancer, or the fact that coffee can help lower your risk of stroke, a whole range of cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

In women, regular, moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of depression, and coffee is loaded with antioxidants that provide a whole raft of health benefits.

Based on that, coffee’s a regular wonder drink, but hold on. The key is moderation, and the magic number is between 500-600 mg. That’s the maximum amount of caffeine you want to ingest each day, which puts a hard upper limit on how much coffee is good for you.

Contrary to the popular saying that there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, in coffee’s case, there is. The more you exceed that 500-600 mg threshold, the more negative effects you will begin to see.

The good news is that based on those numbers, you can safely enjoy 6-8 cups of coffee a day without experiencing any adverse effects. That’s more than half a pot, which is a decent amount by any reckoning, although power coffee drinkers will probably need to make a few adjustments.

The main point, though, is that if you stick with that limit, then you can enjoy your coffee guilt-free!