If your favorite part of waking up is a warm, steamy brew in your cup, then you're in luck. With its high level of antioxidants and essential nutrients such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese and potassium, coffee can be a healthy addition to your diet. Regular coffee consumption has even been linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and some types of cancer. Maximize the health benefits you receive from your daily cup of joe by following these six tips:
1. Make your own.
Making your coffee at home will help you avoid the temptation of the unhealthy options served up at your local coffee shop. A 16oz Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino has a whopping 380 calories, 14g of fat, and 58g of sugar, not to mention a whole host of highly processed ingredients.
That sweet indulgence may give you an initial lift, but will most likely leave your energy levels lagging as your body experiences the after effects of a sugar spike. Setting up your own coffee bar in your kitchen with a variety of different roasts and healthy add-ins, lets you control the nutritional content of your daily coffee and has the added benefit of saving money!
2. Use filtered water.
Since the average cup of coffee is 98.75% water, it's important to make sure that you use the purest water possible in your fresh brew. Filtering your water helps remove all sorts of unwanted substances, such as arsenic, lead and heavy metals like mercury. To reduce the risk of the health issues associated with developing a build up of these substances in the body, install a filtered water tap in your kitchen, purchase bottled water that has been properly filtered, or invest in a pitcher with a built-in water filter. Not only will using filtered water in your coffee be healthier, it will also reduce the chlorine levels in your water, which will mean tastier coffee, too!
3. Buy organic coffee.
Is it really necessary to buy organic coffee? Maybe not, but if you're a regular coffee drinker and you want to make your habit as healthy as possible, ensuring that the beans you brew were grown organically is one way to do that! Pesticides and other chemicals are used to grow and process most coffee beans and the only way to be sure that you aren't drinking the residues of these toxins is to buy certified organic coffee. The strict standards that must be met to ensure organic certification means that you'll never have to worry about anything other than the purest coffee finding its way into your mug.
4. Ditch the cream and sugar.
Don't worry! I'm not recommending that you only drink your coffee black, unless, of course, that's how you prefer it. There are many ways to enjoy a sweet and creamy cup of coffee without using refined sugars and saturated fat-packed dairy creamers.
Non-dairy milks, like unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk, can add richness to a cup of coffee and has higher concentrations of heart-healthy, plant-based fats. Another option is to sink some superfood-spiked Manuka Honeys or coconut butters into your java for a nutrient-rich boost of delicious flavor.
5. Munch while (or before) you sip.
The caffeine in coffee sends signals to your body that prompt the release of sugar into your bloodstream and the secretion of insulin. Since insulin's primary function is to trigger the conversion of glucose, the blood's supply of sugar, into energy, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause a major drop in blood sugar. This can lead to a sudden energy crash, which can be a particularly rough way to start the day. Eating a meal before you enjoy your coffee can help you avoid the negative impacts of an insulin spike.
If you can't have a full meal before you dive into your espresso, make sure to at least eat a small snack while you sip your coffee in order to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
6. Savor it slowly.
In many cultures, coffee is enjoyed as more of a ritual than a mindless habit, and there may be a very good reason for this. Imbibing too much coffee can lead to a caffeine overload, which can be taxing on the nervous system. Instead of downing your coffee in a hurry, take the time to really savor the flavors, smells, and sensations mindfully. This will allow you to enjoy the experience more deeply, and you'll also be more likely to notice the way your body is reacting to the caffeine intake.
You might be surprised to find that, even though you usually drink a couple of cups of coffee each morning, a single cup gives you enough of an energy boost and all of the sensory satisfaction you need. Happy sipping!