Many of us love to wake up to the smell of a nice cup of coffee brewing in the kitchen, in fact some of us might not even have our game faces on until we’ve breathed in the aroma and sipped the black liquid magic. Let’s face it, coffee is addicting. It’s warm, dark and delicious. And now that recent studies have been highlighting some of the health benefits, we can now savor our cup of joe with just a bit more fervor. But are we really getting the benefits in every cup? No, not always. Before we go on a mad dash to grab our favorite beans from the coffee shop down the corner, let’s learn about a few tips on how to get a healthier cup of coffee.
Drink in Moderation
How many times have we felt more awake and more able to conquer the day when we’ve had our coffee in the morning? More times than we can count. However, overindulging on anything is a bad thing and coffee is no exception. Experts have said that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day has not shown any negative effects. This does not mean we can refill our 12 ounce tumblers six times. Most studies measure a cup of coffee as an 8-ounce cup, so that’s consuming no more than 48 ounces of coffee a day max. Caffeine– a substance found in several leaves, plants and fruits including coffee–can lead to side effects such as anxiety, depression, tremors and a fast heart rate, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
We recommend keeping the coffee consumption to 3-4 cups, and spread out throughout the day, this way a bit of the caffeine leaves our body before the next cup. We are still getting the “picker upper” effect without causing our body to go on overdrive (not a good thing).
Say Yes to Decaf
We know how wonderful the quick shot of energy coffee gives us, however as we’ve mentioned previously, putting too much caffeine in our bodies can lead to several side effects. While quitting coffee altogether might be an immediate solution for some, for others not so much. Remember coffee has become that little pot of elixir that helps takes us from point A to point B. So quitting isn’t quite on the list. But switching to decaf is. According to the International Coffee Organization, products like coffee or tea become decaffeinated through a chemical process where green coffee beans are run through a steam or water in order to swell up. The caffeine is then extracted using water or solvent, stripped of all solvent residues and dried off of the excess moisture. They are then ready to be roasted. Now decaf still contains traces of caffeine, but compared to regular brew, it’s definitely a significant decrease in caffeine intake.
We recommend keeping regular coffee consumption to the morning (no later than midday) if the shot of caffeine is needed, and then switching over to decaf later on. This way we won’t lose sleep at night.
Hello Paper Filters
Studies have shown that paper filter coffee can help lower the consumption of cafestol, a substance found in coffee which is a stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol). The cafestol is said to be left behind in the filter when we brew coffee with a paper filter. Dr. Rob van Dam, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, discusses some of the nutritional value of coffee and the best ways to go about yielding those benefits. “It is better to choose paper filtered coffee or instant coffee, since they have much lower levels of cafestol than boiled or French press coffee,” he says. The good news is that most of us already drink filtered coffee.
We recommend forgoing our French press machines and sticking to a classic filter coffee maker. Sure, there is something magical about drinking fresh pressed coffee…maybe it’s the feeling of being transported to a cafe in Paris, but we can still achieve a good tasty coffee with a filter or instant coffee. It just comes down to where we get our coffee beans. Try a local coffee shop for fresh coffee beans, many times they will even finely grind them for us if we want them too. This ensures we’re getting quality beans without compromising on that rich aroma or taste.
The 20 minute rule
How many of us autostart our coffee machines to make a pot of coffee only to finally drink it when we’re out the door or at work? Probably most of us of have. But coffee experts recommend not leaving the coffee sitting for over 20 minutes (especially on a burner) because contact with air will reduce the antioxidants and change the flavor of the coffee. The fresher the coffee, the more nutritional value we will get.
We recommend setting our coffee machines to make one cup of coffee at a time, making sure to have ample time to drink it at home. Or simply taking our coffee grains to work and making the fresh cup there. Beats getting stuck with vending machine coffee.
We applaud individuals who can drink their coffee straight without cream or sugar, unfortunately we are not one of them. Sugar helps make the strong bitter coffee taste, well, more palatable. But the easy way to take out the nutritional value of coffee is to add a bunch of sugar. Studies have shown that a high amount of sugar (fructose) can cause serious diseases like diabetes and obesity. So indulging on our Starbucks caramel frappuccinos or cup of coffee with flavored creamer actually harm our bodies. Add a bit more milk (raw if possible) or soy milk, and cutting down on the sugar load, can over time decrease our dependency of needing sugar in our coffee.
We recommend gradually cutting down on those flavored creamers (i.e Coffee-mate, International Delight) or packets of sugar we use. The less we put in the coffee the better. But if we’re crazy a little sweetness, honey is a great healthy alternative.