Some of us just can't get the day started without our warm cup of coffee to give us that much-needed boost to get going.
Whatever your coffee tipple, it's important to not stray too far away from the healthy benefits of drinking coffee. When you order a tall macchiato with whole milk, flavoured syrup, whipped cream and then proceed to add 8 sugar sachets, you haven't got a coffee, you've got a dessert.
There are many great benefits in one mug of coffee: improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and even improved physical performance on the bike and in training.
But like all things, moderation and temptation need to be carefully monitored. Especially with addictive substances like caffeine and sugar.
Coffee is great for your mind and body when part of a well-balanced diet. However, although flavoured syrups and spiral mountains of cream are tasty, they take away from what healthy coffee is all about.
So here are some top tips to improve the health points on your daily cuppa Joe...
Spice It Up
Natural spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom are not only tasty flavour punches for your coffee, but they are packed with antioxidants.
Cinnamon, especially, has been linked with reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels in the blood which in turn, helps reduce the risk of developing heart disease. So sprinkle a little spicy cinnamon into your daily cuppa to take care of your ticker.
Yep, you read that right. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has a number of benefits for the body. Studies have shown improved cycle performance from athletes who consume 40g of chocolate per day, but we don't need that much convincing.
Dark chocolate contains Bio-active Nitric Oxide (NO) which essentially helps dilate our blood vessels allowing an increase in oxygen uptake by the body. In turn, this improves our oxygen efficiency when exercising.
Yak Fat Blast
Stay with us on this one...
A new crazy trend of butter tea and butter coffee has swept over the US and we've begun to see it bubbling its way over the pond.
The idea is loosely based on a Himalayan Sherpa recipe combing yak butter with hot beverages. For butter coffee, it's a blend of organic butter - from grass-fed cows - coconut oil and organic coffee. The benefit of this interesting blend is that it's full of healthy essential fats for body fuel, whilst boosting brain function. It also induces ketosis which is a fat burning state of the body.
Don't Kill It
Don't ruin your healthy coffee with heaps of sugar. It goes without saying that excessive amounts of sugar in your diet can lead to serious health problems and developing conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
The same rule also applies for artificial sweeteners. Although they claim to have zero calories, they aren't natural, and should also be kerbed. Not only are there some concerns over the long-term effects of these chemicals, but some researchers believe the sweetness still spikes insulin levels as sugar does.
If you need a little sweetness in your coffee, try a more natural sugar alternative, like Stevia.
Use Quality Coffee
The quality of coffee can vary between brands owing to how it's grown, cultivated and manufactured into the coffee that you consume.
Many coffee companies spray their beans with pesticides, herbicides and other toxins not meant for human consumption. For this reason, it's best to do your research on coffee brands, and where your local coffee stop sources their beans from. If you make your own coffee, try an organic bean which is less likely to be contaminated by toxins.
Use Filter Paper
If you grind your beans and brew your own coffee at home, remember to use filter paper as some coffee beans can contain harmful chemicals known as diterpenes.
If you consume enough of these chemicals, it can result in an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol. However, these are easy to eradicate from your brew by using filter paper which effectively filters out the diterpenes to leave just the tasty coffee, caffeine and good antioxidants behind.
Caffeine is a stimulant. It's why we commonly drink it in the mornings and whilst at work, it triggers the brain to feel more alert.
However, drinking caffeine after a certain time of the day can begin to have an adverse affect on your sleep pattern. As a rough guide, it's best to ditch the coffee around 14:00 to 15:00, and switch to a less caffeinated alternative such as green tea, or decaf coffee.
Drink Coffee After Food
Usually, that meal is breakfast, but it's good to wait until you have some food in your belly before guzzling down your coffee.
Caffeine has the ability to suppress your appetite which leads to going for long periods of time without eating properly. Thus causing a drop in blood sugar and feelings of tiredness, because you feel low in energy, you reach for more coffee to offset it, which just completes a vicious circle of not giving your body the right foods at the right time.
With a few small upgrades and adjustments, you can get the most out of your cup of coffee, whilst be a little healthier in the process.
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