There are lots of reasons why you should start your day off with a hot cup of coffee. For starters, it’s coffee and coffee is just about the best thing ever invented. It’s also good for you! Coffee is filled with powerful antioxidants that keep you healthy and fight off disease. It can boost your mood and help you live a longer life. All good things.
But there is truth to the idea that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Unfortunately it’s all too easy to take what would otherwise be a healthy cup of coffee and turn it into a sugar bomb that will only add to your waistline.
So how do you make sure that your cup of coffee stays good for you? Easy. Just follow these 10 pieces of advice and your coffee habit will become instantly healthier.
Choose organic beans
Did you know that coffee is the most heavily-sprayed crop in the world? We’re talking pesticides, herbicides and other harmful toxins. If you don’t want to be sipping on chemicals, stick to organic coffee. To earn the organic label, coffee beans must undergo a rigorous and strict certification process overseen by the FDA. It’s serious business, so when you buy organic, you know you’re getting a pure, high-quality coffee. It makes a big difference when it comes to keeping your coffee addiction a healthy one.
Along with buying organic, buying quality beans in general will create better-tasting, flavor profiles, which will not have the need to get masked by heavy cream and sugar. By buying quality, organic beans of unique regions, you can get tastes of blueberry, chocolate, toffee or hundreds of other natural bean flavors.
Grind your own beans
You know how if you cut open an apple and then let it sit on the counter it starts to turn brown? You can thank oxygen and moisture for that. They’ll suck the freshness right out of that apple, and your coffee too. That’s why that brand new bag of coffee already starts to taste a little off after just a few days of use. It’s all that exposure to oxygen and moisture in the room. They also strip coffee of precious antioxidants, the powerful substances that ward off illness and disease. To get the most out of your coffee, buy whole bean and grind them yourself when you’re ready to brew.
Use filtered water
You may be wondering why you would bother filtering water before making coffee since it’s just going to boil and get all the gunk out anyway, right? While it’s true, boiling water does get rid of things like bacteria, it’s not going to rid your water of any heavy metal contaminants -- like lead or copper -- or byproducts from chlorine disinfection. But a filter can. Starting with fresh, clean water will instantly make your coffee healthier. It’ll taste better, too.
Add a dash of cinnamon
Have you ever noticed cinnamon on the counter of your favorite coffee shop? It’s long been a favorite choice to spice up a cup of coffee, but it does more than just add a nice flavor. Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower your body’s sugar levels and even help burn fat! Who knew this yummy spice could do so much? Sprinkle a little cinnamon into your next cup of coffee to give your health a boost.
Avoid low-fat / artificial creamer
There’s nothing wrong with adding a little cream to your coffee, but you should stick to full-fat varieties or those that came from grass-fed cows. Most of the low-fat and artificial creamers you find in the grocery store are filled with super-processed and unnatural ingredients that are harmful to your health. The most likely culprits are high fructose corn syrup and trans fat. Yuck.
No coffee on an empty stomach
If you’re having coffee and only coffee for breakfast, that’s a big no-no. You really shouldn’t down a cup of coffee without eating something first. First of all, coffee is known to suppress appetite. Think about it -- how many times have you substituted a cup of coffee for your morning meal only to realize it’s now 1 p.m. and you haven’t eaten a single thing all day? We bet it’s happened a few times. You can’t just run on caffeine all day; you need to eat. Plus, caffeine tells your body to release sugar, which then causes your pancreas to release insulin. If you’ve got an empty stomach, this can lead to a major drop in blood sugar that leaves you feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous and a little anxious. All bad things. So before you toss back your coffee, do yourself a favor and have a snack.
Use paper filters
Reusable filters sound great for your bottom line, and they’re convenient. But when it comes to keeping your coffee habit healthy, paper is where it’s at. There are these things called diterpenes that are known to raise cholesterol levels in your blood, and sometimes they make their way into your coffee. All you need to get rid of them is a paper filter. Your fancy reusable filter won’t cut it.
Go easy on the sugar
We all know the dangers of consuming too much sugar. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease, to name a few. What you might not know is that some of your favorite coffee drinks are packed with sugar and artificial sweeteners. That chai latte you love has more sugar in it than a Snickers bar. And a salted caramel mocha, while delicious, comes with a grand total of 56 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, the World Health Organization says we should only be consuming about 25 grams (or less) a day. With coffee, it’s easy to go overboard on sugar. Avoiding those frou-frou drinks at the local coffee shop in favor or black coffee is the easiest way to minimize the sugar. If you can’t stomach black coffee, though, opt for a little Stevia to sweeten your coffee.
Top it off with coconut oil
Coconut oil took the world by storm last year. It seems like anyone and everyone was raving about its many health benefits -- it can make your hair shiny, your skin glow, keep your immune system kicking and boost your health overall. It’s basically magic. So if you want to turn up the health factor of your coffee, just add a tablespoon of coconut oil and you’re good to go.
Go with decaf after 2 p.m.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but as the day goes on, you really should make the switch to decaf. Why? Well, caffeine is a stimulant. You know that. It’s why you get that burst of energy and feel more awake after your morning cup of coffee. For most of us, that’s why we drink coffee in the first place, so taking it out of the equation can seem downright blasphemous. The problem is that drinking caffeine late in the day can make sleeping at night troublesome, and if you’re not getting enough sleep you’ll have a host of other problems. If you’re missing the taste of coffee later in the afternoon, go with a cup of decaf.
Looking for more ideas on how to take your coffee to the next level? You can find them on our blog. Check out The Bean Buzz for the latest coffee trends and inspiration.