If you’re like most people, a cup of freshly brewed coffee is a standard part of your morning wake-up routine. According to a study from the University of Scranton, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. Plus, a growing body of research suggests that drinking a few cups a day can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even prostate cancer.
But caffeinated coffee could be contributing to weight gain, depending on how you take it and how often you drink it. That’s because coffee add-ons like cream, sugar, and other flavorings can supply saturated fat and plenty of empty calories.
So what’s the best way to have a healthy cup of coffee? Well, there are 4 most important tricks to maximize the benefits of coffee and minimize the negatives:
1. First of all, you need to AVOID adding any refined sugar or harmful artificial sweeteners. When consumed black, coffee is naturally a low-calorie beverage. When you start adding heavy cream or excess sugar, the calorie count can skyrocket. Each tablespoon of cream adds 52 calories, while each packet of sugar adds 11 calories. Learn to drink your coffee black or add fat-free milk instead of cream. You can also use either a very small touch of organic maple syrup or a half packet of natural stevia to just lightly sweeten your coffee. Anyway, black coffee with no sweetener at all is the healthiest.
2. Second, you should try to AVOID at all costs any of those terrible artificial creamers (liquid or powder), which are usually made with corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils (harmful trans fats). The commercial low-fat and artificial creamers you might come across tend to be highly processed and full of unnatural, harmful ingredients. Instead, consider adding some full-fat cream, preferably from grass-fed cows. Studies show that high-fat dairy products are actually associated with a reduced risk of obesity. Or, if you can’t get grass-fed cream, try using some coconut cream as one of the healthiest creamer alternatives.
3. Third, if you want to load your coffee up with more healthy antioxidants and good taste, consider trying some added cinnamon to your coffee. Cinnamon is a tasty herb that mixes particularly well with the flavor of coffee. Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics. As an alternative, you can add a teaspoon of organic cocoa powder (non-sweetened) to make your own sort of mocha coffee (but without the loads of sugar in a typical mocha you’d get at the coffee shop, so just use a little stevia to sweeten). The added cocoa powder also gives you great taste and a good dose of extra healthy antioxidants (and cocoa is also known for helping to lower blood pressure!)
4. Lastly, it’s extremely important to choose organic coffee beans. Just like it is with other foods, the quality of the product can vary greatly depending on the processing method and how it was grown. Coffee beans tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and various toxins that were never intended for human consumption.
Putting these tips into practice will help you enjoy the benefits of coffee.