Is your first order of business when you wake up to reach for a cup of jo? Or five? We feel you.
The numbers show that most Americans rely on a coffee habit to start their day—about 83% of Americans in fact, are coffee drinkers (that number is on the rise from years past.) The average coffee drinker is guzzling down 3 cups a day, which is on the rise thanks in part to things like increases in at-home coffee makers and coffee being seen as increasingly hip and trendy.
You may have heard conflicting reports on the topic of caffeine and coffee in particular: is it good? Is it terrible for you? Does a cup a day not hurt you?
Since people have been brewing, so has the debate over its health benefits.
In general though, all recent research shows links between coffee drinking and health benefits, such as protection against liver disease, Parkinson’s, improved cognitive function, and lessened risks of depression.
The trouble comes when you drink coffee excessively (much like anything), or load up on extra calories, saturated fat, and sugar along with your daily brew. In order to truly reap the health benefits of coffee, here are some hacks that won’t sacrifice taste or flavor, but will ensure your morning cup is helping instead of hurting you. Cheers!
1. Swap Out Your Creamer
If coffee itself is healthy, it’s usually the copious amounts of added creamer and sweeteners (more on that below) that can turn an innocent cup of jo into a caloric nightmare.
Not only are lots of calories lurking in creamers, but if you’re reaching for artificially flavored ones, like most available in the grocery store, you’re sipping on a cocktail of ingredients that no one should be putting into their bodies on a regular basis, such as corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, and unpronounceable artificial ingredients and preservatives. Use real milk or your choice of non-dairy milk instead, and don’t go overboard.
2. Sweeten, Naturally
You don’t have to go hardcore and drink your coffee black or unsweetened, but do take a look at how much sugar you’re inadvertently drinking in your daily coffee.
The World Health Organization recommends only consuming 25 grams or less, ideally, per day, but a typical blended Frappuccino from a coffee shop can contain more than double that! Even a less-decadent latte can tip you over the edge of your daily sugar allowance. Going with sugar-free sweeteners is many people’s response but many studies have shown the fake stuff to be even worse, so keep it natural, but limit yourself to a sensible small spoonful of organic cane sugar, natural stevia, or even a bit of honey or agave syrup.
3. Use Organic Coffee
A little-known fact is that coffee is actually the most heavily sprayed crop worldwide.
Though we assume you’re probably washing produce like apples and greens, of course you can’t rinse your coffee grounds, meaning you’re sipping down those pesticides in each cup---yikes. Avoid this by choosing grounds or beans that have the organic label on the bag, or frequently coffee shops that serve organic options.
4. Spice it Up
Not only will spices boost the flavor of your coffee, while barely adding any calories and zero sugar or fat, adding something like cinnamon can also help your circulation, lower blood sugar, and help with insulin regulation. This time of year especially the warm, comforting flavor of cinnamon or nutmeg gives your coffee the perfect cozy touch.
Bonus tip? Tomorrow morning, before drinking your cup of coffee, hydrate yourself with good old H2O first! We all inherently wake up dehydrated, even if we don’t realize it, and if you’re relying on coffee for your main morning liquid of choice, you’re actually just dehydrating yourself further since it’s a diuretic.
How does your coffee routine stack up? Will you be making any of these changes to your cup of jo tomorrow?
Live Your Best Life,
The FITtec. Team