Curious if coffee is healthy? Coffee can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle. Find out the benefits of drinking coffee daily, and guidelines for keeping your coffee delicious and good for you!
If y’all are like me, it’s pretty hard to imagine a day without coffee in it.
And I’ll admit, when I started my healthy living lifestyle, I was a little worried about how following the rules was going to affect my coffee consumption.
I wasn’t ready to give up coffee.
Refined sugar, yes. White flour, for sure. But coffee? NO way.
So, for all you coffee lovers out there, I’ve got GOOD news. Coffee is healthy for you, and in fact, drinking coffee has several benefits like fighting disease and increasing your body’s ability to burn fat.
But, and it’s a small but here, there are a few things you’ve got to know about your enjoyment of a cup of java. Read on and I’ll getcha all the facts!
BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE
Coffee, when included in a healthy diet and as part of a healthy living routine, is associated with several benefits. It affects your body in positive ways (when consumed in normal amounts, of course) and helps to reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Let’s delve a little deeper, shall we?
Coffee can do these things for you:
- Improve memory
- Increase alertness
- Boost metabolism
- Increase fat burning
- Enhance athletic performance
- Enhance cognitive functioning
- Improve reaction time
- Improve mood
- Increase life expectancy
COFFEE BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM
It’s a known fact that the caffeine in coffee boosts your metabolism. Your metabolism burns energy from food and also helps in body processes like digestion and circulation of the blood. A higher metabolic rate also increases fat burning, enables you to burn more calories, and thus, lose more weight.
The caffeine in coffee also stimulates the nervous system, and that increases the hormone epinephrine. Also known as adrenaline, epinephrine signals the fat tissues to break down fats and send them along to the blood. Key point: This process, called negative energy balance, takes place when you burn calories either by exercising more than you normally do, or by consuming fewer calories than usual.
It’s important to keep in mind that making protein a part of your diet is essential, too. Protein boosts the thermic effect of food. In turn, it increases your metabolic rate. I bring this up because it’s crucial to understand that using coffee alone as a weight loss tool is not healthy, nor is it effective.
COFFEE GIVES YOU ENERGY
The stimulants in coffee can increase your performance at the gym (or wherever else you choose to exercise). Remember that exercise goes hand in hand with a clean-living lifestyle as a way to lose weight. Studies show that coffee contains the following stimulants:
- Chlorogenic acid
These pick-me-uppers can have an effect on how energized you feel. Drinking a cup of coffee before a workout may give you the pep you need to have an amazing workout session.
COFFEE CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF DISEASE
Coffee lovers can be happy about the news that coffee may reduce the risk of certain diseases. It’s still important to drink in moderation, however, or the dangers of too much coffee will outweigh the benefits.
- Type II Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
That’s a LOT of reasons to enjoy coffee, in my opinion.
COFFEE CONTAINS HEALTHY NUTRIENTS
Organic coffee beans contain antioxidants that fight inflammation. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent our cells from damage. Chlorogenic acid (which is found just about exclusively in coffee) may prevent cardiovascular disease. Nutrients in coffee include:
- Pantothenic acid
- B vitamins
WHICH COFFEE BEANS ARE THE HEALTHIEST?
Ideally, organic coffee beans are what you want. If you buy the cheapest coffee beans you can find, chances are likely that you’ll be consuming pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. You see, in order to meet today’s demand for coffee, the manufacturing process has changed, and along with the changes come more chemicals. Buying organic means less synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and more.
Think about fair trade, too. If you can, purchase fair trade coffee to support independent farmers in developing countries. It’s an ethical way to shop and helps avoid poor labor practices sometimes seen in large factories. Plus, it’s better for the planet!
HOW MUCH COFFEE CAN I DRINK?
You can drink 5 to 6 cups of drip coffee a day.
Yeah, isn’t that awesome? Around 400 mg of caffeine is the ideal amount per day. Keep in mind when I say 5 cups, we’re talking about making your cup of java from organic beans, not instant coffee grounds.
Space out your consumption throughout the day, and don’t forget that drinking plenty of water is still necessary as part of a healthy, clean-living lifestyle.
Another point to remember, stop drinking coffee by 6 pm, so that is doesn’t affect your ability to sleep. If you are someone who has sleep issues, it’s best to stop even earlier. Cutting consumption by 3 pm for some is critical because the effects of caffeine can be felt up to six hours after your last coffee.
You know your body, right? Enjoy your coffee as best for your body and lifestyle. But, remember that what you put in your coffee is just as important as how much you drink. Processed sugar, dairy cream, and sweeteners like CoffeeMate are no-gos if you want your coffee to be healthy and good for you.
Let’s look at that now.
HEALTHY SUBSTITUTIONS TO ADD TO COFFEE
Use full fat organic half and half or almond milk as additions to your coffee if you don’t like it black. Instead of refined sugar, substitute with coconut sugar as a sweetener. Whatever you do, don’t add anything with hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.
Try these fun and tasty additions:
- Coconut oil – blend it till it’s frothy, enjoy, and boost your metabolic rate
- Cayenne pepper – it adds a kick, so add gradually to taste
- Cocoa powder
- Homemade coffee creamer
REMOVE THE BAD ADDITIVES FROM YOUR COFFEE
To wean yourself from those not-so-good-for-you coffee creamers and sugar, begin by slowly reducing the amount you add to your cup.
I know, you probably can’t imagine your coffee tasting any way but how it does now, and at first, I couldn’t either. Heck, my coffee was more hazelnut creamer and sugar than it was coffee. But I knew I couldn’t keep it up.
And, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I had to change my ways. So, I did just as I suggested to you. I slowly reduced the amount of unhealthy stuff I was putting in my coffee until I was able to just take it black.
And you what? I now LOVE a steaming cup of black coffee. If I’m looking for a little variation, I’ll add a bit of almond milk or a touch of homemade coffee creamer.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF DRINKING COFFEE
Coffee is healthy, but like with anything, over indulging can be harmful. People who drink too much coffee can develop a dependence on it, and can get brain fog and headaches. This is a good reason for keeping your coffee consumption at a reasonable level.
Missing your coffee when you crave it can make you irritable, too. Other side effects of overdoing the java are:
- If you suffer from anxiety, coffee may make it worse
- Those with acid reflux may find the problem is exacerbated by coffee
- Some people will get the jitters from drinking coffee
- Coffee may cause insomnia, especially if sleep is already an issue
Remember, what you put in your coffee makes a difference, too. Too much sugar, coffee whiteners, and creamers can all make that healthy cup of joe not quite so good for you.
So, the bottom line folks, is to enjoy your coffee but drink it black when you can, or with just a little added homemade creamer or almond milk. Don’t have more than 5 or 6 cups a day, and stop drinking coffee early in the afternoon if it has the potential to keep you up at night.
TRY THESE HEALTHY COFFEE RECIPES
Try one of the recipes below if you are looking for more ways to get the delicious taste of coffee in your life!
- Healthy Coffee Smoothie
- Homemade Coffee Creamer
- Coffee Ice Cream
- Almond Butter, Chocolate & Coffee Bean Protein Shake
- Easy Coffee Cake
- Homemade Mocha Latté
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