If you brew and savor your coffee the right way, you can reap a slew of health benefits. Antioxidants like riboflavin and polyphenols found in coffee may protect against a variety of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and inflammation, Livestrong reports.
As a bonus, a study published in Nature in June of this year found that drinking coffee regularly could help people lose weight. We can burn more calories by activating “brown fat” in our bodies by sipping on a cup of joe.
According to a 2018 study, drinking coffee improves mental focus and increases brainpower. Adenosine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes you sleepy, is blocked by the caffeine in coffee. Having a cup of coffee in the morning not only gives you a mental lift but also protects you from developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The Phenylindanes in roasted coffee, according to the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto, slow the growth of tau and beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, both of which are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
“Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute, according to Alzheimer’s & Dementia Weekly.
The coffee health benefits extend to the heart, liver, and kidneys, according to Eat This, Not That! While this is great news for coffee drinkers, avoid making these blunders to get the most out of your cup of joe:
1. Buying ground coffee is not a good idea. Purchase whole beans and grind them as you go, storing them in an airtight container. Coffee beans contain the most antioxidants of any food.
2. Keep the filter in mind. People who drink filtered coffee have a lower mortality rate than those who drink unfiltered coffee or no coffee at all, according to a study. Using a French press or espresso to prepare unfiltered coffee, the researchers found substances that raise cholesterol levels in the blood, putting people at greater risk of heart attacks and early death.
3. Don’t use sugar or artificial sweeteners in your diet. Sugar, according to Livestrong, is a calorie additive with no nutritional value and is associated with a variety of health risks. Artificial sweeteners have the potential to disrupt the microbiome in the digestive tract.
4. Using less coffee creamer will help. Christen Cupples Cooper, a registered dietitian and founder of Cooper Nutrition, advises against using too much creamer. Substitute low-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk for the whole cup.
5. Do not turn coffee into a sweet treat! It is possible to turn a healthy cup of black coffee with negligible calories into a 500-calorie disaster by piling on the various add-ons available at most coffee shops. The fats and sugars added will negate any potential health benefits. Flavor instead with a dash of cinnamon or vanilla extract.
6. Avoid single-serve plastic pods at all costs. According to Livestrong, the convenience of these pods may actually be harmful to your health. Even if the pods are BPA-free, estrogenic chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors can be released over time by the containers. If you want a healthy cup of joe, stick with an old-fashioned coffee pot or a pour-over coffee maker.
7. Cleaning your machine is a must. Mold and bacteria can grow in any appliance that contains water. These microorganisms thrive in coffee makers because of the warm, moist environment they provide. Cleaning your coffee machine on a regular basis is recommended by experts.
8. Avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon. If you need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, a cup of coffee may be the answer. According to a 2015 study published in Science Translational Medicine, caffeine wakes people up, but it also disrupts the quality of their sleep. “Mistimed caffeine consumption may contribute to the growing incidence of sleep problems in society,” the authors wrote. This study found a link between caffeine consumption late at night and sleep disturbances caused by our circadian rhythms. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental well-being.