8 Delicious Ways to Make Your Cup of Coffee Healthier
So, you are running late for work and you manage to have a small cappuccino before your first morning meeting. Fast forward to lunch, your stomach is growling and you realize that you skipped breakfast. Drinking coffee has a lot of health benefits, but it can suppress your appetite and some people use it as a meal replacement.
Here at Bright Side, we did some research on how to make your cup of coffee healthier without losing your appetite and screwing up your metabolism.
1. Avoid artificial sweeteners and refined sugar.
This might seem a little bit obvious but coffee is healthy by itself. You actually turn it into something harmful for your body by loading it with sugar. Many popular versions of coffee are filled with artificial sweeteners or refined sugar. For example, a medium Iced Caramel Macchiato has 34 grams of sugar and a White Chocolate Mocha has 49 grams of sugar.
Due to the high amount of fructose in sugar, it can cause all sorts of serious diseases like obesity and diabetes. If you cannot tolerate the taste of coffee without sugar you can use a natural sweetener like stevia.
2. Go for quality over quantity.
The quality of coffee can vary and depends on the processing and how the coffee beans are grown and roasted. In many cases, due to the need for the mass production of coffee and also due to the fact that a coffee tree takes up to 5 years to grow and produce 10 pounds of coffee, some farmers spray their coffee trees with synthetic pesticides and other chemicals that were never intended for human consumption.
These chemicals speed up the growth period of each tree and there is a lot of controversy about the long-term health effects they have on humans. If you are worried about the pesticide content in your coffee, consider buying organic coffee beans from a quality brand.
3. Add some cinnamon to your coffee.
Cinnamon is a very tasty spice to add to your coffee and give it a more interesting flavor. Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. It's loaded with antioxidants that protect the human body from the oxidative damage that is caused by free radicals.
Additionally, cinnamon can improve the key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. So, if you need some spice in your coffee a dash of cinnamon will do the job.
4. Add some cocoa to your coffee.
Cocoa, like cinnamon, is also rich in antioxidants and provides a lot of health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, it helps with weight loss by improving mitochondrial biogenesis and it also offers neuron protection.
According to the National Institute of Health, cocoa enhances cognition and positive mood. Try adding a dash of cocoa powder into your coffee for some added flavor.
5. Avoid drinking too much coffee.
As mentioned earlier, drinking coffee is very healthy for our bodies but an excessive amount can cause a series of health issues.
Too much caffeine can result in anxiety or edginess. It can impact our sleep patterns, disrupt the quality of our sleep, and develop into an addiction where we will build up a tolerance to caffeine -- so instead of one cup of coffee, we might need 3 to wake us up.
Drinking coffee is all about balancing the benefits and the risks, we should always listen to our bodies because they know best.
6. Do NOT consume caffeine after 2 P.M.
Caffeine is what makes coffee so popular. It's a stimulant and it gives you energy to stay awake and be productive. Drinking coffee later in the day can interfere with your sleep no matter how much tolerance you have for it, and poor sleep causes additional health problems.
For this reason, if you have to drink coffee later in the day, it's better to choose decaf or a cup of black tea which has a lot less caffeine, but still gives you an energy boost.
7. Avoid artificial creamers.
Cream is the most common ingredient in coffee, especially in the US. The very well-known, low-fat artificial creamers are usually highly processed and might contain questionable ingredients. Whole, natural foods are the better choice to accompany your coffee for various reasons.
Whole cream can reduce belly bloat and it contains less lactose which makes it easier for lactose-intolerant individuals to digest compared to alternative creams. So, consider adding some full-fat cream to your coffee, preferably from grass-fed cows.
8. Brew your coffee using paper.
Brewed coffee contains cafestol - a diterpenoid molecule that raises cholesterol levels in humans. Using a paper filter to brew your coffee lowers the amount of cafestol while still letting the caffeine and all the antioxidants of the coffee beans pass through.
How do you take your coffee? We'd love to hear your favorite coffee recipes. Please let us know your thoughts on this article and also share some of your experiences and tips with us about the art of coffee drinking.