When most people think of coffee, they think of a caffeine shot that helps them get started each day and how they feel practically useless if they don’t have it one day. Yes, caffeine is addicting. But coffee can have great health benefits – such as an abundance of antioxidants – if you use it properly. There are plenty of simple things you can do that will help maximize the health benefits, which will be welcome news for all of us coffee aficionados. Let’s take a look.
10. Go Organic
As a general rule, choosing organic coffee over standard coffee the healthier choice. It does cost more, but we think it’s worth it for the health and environmental benefits over run-of-the-mill standard coffee. Plus, this is one environmentalist practice you can do that doesn’t require much effort or investment, like putting solar panels on your roof. Many people believe organic coffee tastes better too.
9. Less Milk or Alternatives
Just in case you haven’t noticed, there are so many varieties of coffee out there that just going down the list and trying a new variety each week would take you a long time. So why make them all taste the same by adding all the milk? Also, if you drink multiple cups a day, the milk in your coffee could bring about uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. If you must add milk, strongly consider almond milk, or another type of non-dairy milk.
8. Counting Is OK
Time for some honesty. How many cups of coffee do you drink each day? We ask only to point out that the general consensus is that up to four cups per day is just fine. More than that – especially if you don’t drink it black – will result in lower levels of the health benefits. Don’t feel any shame if you are one of those eight-cups-a-day people, but consider dropping back to four, so you can enjoy the great flavor and maximum health benefits of your favorite java.
7. Less Caffeine, Especially Later
As we all know, caffeine is a stimulant – that’s why so many of us were hooked on it in our young adult days. We were cramming for a college exam or trying to stay out late on weeknights and still be high-functioning at work the next morning. High levels of caffeine and having caffeine late in the day can do quite a bit of damage to your sleeping pattern and eventually your overall health. Try to avoid caffeine after 2 P.M. Also, if you like to push that four-cups-a-day level, consider half-caf blends, or mix regular and decaf grounds before brewing to give you a little jolt without keeping you up at night.
6. NO Sugar
We could write a 99,000-word book on the negative aspects of sugar. Lots of fad diets tell you to cut out all fat. While many saturated fats are the enemy, they pale in comparison to sugar as an enemy. Sugar is easily the number one issue in the modern human diet. Ideally, you would use no sweetener at all in your coffee. (You will find that high-quality organic coffee doesn’t need any sweeteners.) But if you must have something, go with Stevia or vanilla, and ditch the regular sugar. Or at the absolute, bare minimum, cut the amount of sugar you add in half.
5. Try Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof coffee is a specialty blend that adds unsalted butter and MCT oil (on its own or in things like coconut oil) to the coffee. It’s believed to increase good cholesterol while lowering triglycerides, which add to the health benefits of coffee. You can buy it or make it yourself. Brew one cup (8-12 ounces) of coffee using filtered water with 2 ½ heaping tablespoons of freshly ground coffee beans. Add one teaspoon to two tablespoons of MCT oil. (Start with one teaspoon per cup and work your way up to 1-2 tablespoons over several days.) Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or 1-2 teaspoons of Grass-Fed Ghee (if you can’t tolerate dairy).
4. Add Cinnamon or Cocoa
How many times have you been waiting for your cup of coffee at Starbucks, saw the cinnamon on the counter, and wondered, “what is that doing there?” Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and tastes very good. Just be sure to go light. Too much can have some ugly side effects.
Cocoa is also beneficial. It is also high in antioxidants and is a great tool for reducing the sugar you add to your coffee. The benefits of cocoa that have led to the rise in popularity of Mocha, a chocolate-flavored coffee blend.
3. Make It Part of Breakfast
Coffee is not only a stimulant, but it can also be an appetite suppressant. This leads many people to make coffee their entire breakfast. By mid-day, after one, two, or five cups, your stomach may hurt. This is not a good thing. Consumed on an empty stomach, coffee can bring indigestion, heartburn, and damage to the stomach lining. If you can’t or won’t have a full breakfast, have a small snack – THEN drink your coffee.
2. Avoid Non-Filtered Water
Because we tend to boil water to make coffee, we usually don’t worry if the water isn’t filtered. But coffee brewed with filtered water tastes better, and it also doesn’t contain unwanted heavy metals from old pipes. Because of this, it’s best to choose filtered water over tap water for your cup of coffee. If your home water supply does not have filtration, you can get filtered water in gallon jugs at the store for very little cost.
1. Forget “Low-Fat” Creamer
We have been inundated with “cut out all fat” diet tips for many years. Here’s a secret that food manufacturers don’t openly admit: anything that says “fat-free” or “low-fat” on the label has had copious amounts of sugar added as a replacement for the fat.
For coffee specifically, low-fat and artificial creamers are often advertised as healthier options to enrich coffee’s flavor. The truth is that these types of products are heavily processed and may contain unwanted chemical ingredients.