Calorie Countess Jennifer Burton says java is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in America.

If you are among 82 million Americans, your morning just isn't complete without coffee. And recent data suggest the drink you have coveted for years is now good for you, too.

Numerous studies have been conducted on coffee and the health benefits it may provide. Most studies have been retrospective, meaning they look at people's habits in the past. This research cannot prove cause or effect, but for those coffee drinkers out there it might show potential perks.

The exact relationship between coffee and the health benefits it provides is not completely understood. But one thing is known: Based on frequency of consumption and concentration, coffee is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet.

Antioxidants have been linked to a number of health benefits, which is why it appears coffee seems is getting a gold star.

Regular coffee consumption has been linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and dementia, as well as a reduction in certain types of cancer, stroke and heart-rhythm disturbances. Whether its decaf or regular, the benefits appear to hold true for both. Don't like coffee? Try drinking tea instead, which offers similar health benefits.

Calorie counters be aware. Although coffee itself contains only 7 calories per cup, the addition of cream, sugar, whipped cream and syrups can add anywhere from 46 to 300 calories.

Jennifer Burton, a registered dietitian, works for the McConnell Heart Health Center.