A GUIDE TO THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF COFFEE
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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. Many people drink it at least once a day, if not more often. Most mornings when we wake up, we collectively make ourselves a cup of coffee. For some people, this will be a simple filter coffee. Whereas for others, this will be an incredibly complicated coffee which has been freshly ground and brewed and topped with frothed milk, syrups, and a range of other ingredients.
Whichever method and style you prefer, you’re probably drinking it for the energy kick the caffeine content provides. But are there other benefits to coffee? People have been drinking coffee in some form for an incredibly long time. So it hasn’t always just been the hot bean juice which accelerates us toward our commutes.
Surprisingly, coffee has a range of health benefits. But, like anything healthy, it should still be consumed in moderation. Excess coffee, even decaffeinated coffee, is not good for you. To help you get the most out of this delicious beverage, here is the ultimate guide to the health benefits of coffee.
Table of Contents:
- What Type of Coffee to Drink?
- Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee
- How Much Coffee is Too Much?
- Making Coffee Healthier
WHAT TYPE OF COFFEE TO DRINK?
When it comes to drinking coffee, lots of people who are conscious of their health avoid it completely. Being sensible about the amount of caffeine you consume is definitely a good idea. But completely restricting an ingredient from your diet (unless for ethical reasons) is unnecessary and unhealthy. Let’s look at some of the main ways of drinking coffee and how they measure up in terms of health.
Drinking black coffee is often encouraged as it is incredibly low in calories. It is often encouraged as part of intermittent fasting. However, fasting is not recommended for most people. While it can help some people to lose weight, it is still being studied and the benefits are as yet unknown. The diet is also restrictive and not recommended for those recovering from eating disorders.
When we talk about black coffee in this context, we mean tall coffees, not espressos which are considered in more depth below. Black coffee, when diluted with water, is a great way to start your day. Cutting out milk, cream, and sugar from your morning coffee is one way to have a more balanced diet. However, if you do not enjoy drinking black coffee, then there is little harm in adding a little milk and sugar. Or, you can add in something less refined such as honey or agave.
Developing a healthier diet doesn’t mean cutting out anything considered to be “bad”. No food or drink is bad. But, if several times a day you are having a big sugary drink with lots of syrup, artificial colors, chocolate, and whipped cream, then you might need to consider cutting back. Making your food enjoyable is one of the best ways to stick to a healthy and balanced diet.
Espresso is the simplest form of coffee. It is the base on which most other coffees are made, especially coffees made with milk. Espresso is made by adding hot water to around 20g of espresso powder (finely ground coffee beans). This makes a very short drink, often called a “shot”. It can be drunk in one or slowly sipped.
Unlike a tall black coffee, espresso is much more concentrated. This also means that there is more caffeine in a shot of espresso than in a tall black coffee. In a tall black coffee, there are around 11g of caffeine. In a shot of espresso, there are around 60g of caffeine. This is a pretty big increase.
Espressos are great for a short sharp kick, whereas a black coffee is better for endurance. When it comes to health, it’s best to limit the number of espressos you drink. Consuming coffee in such a small amount might seem healthier, but you definitely shouldn’t drink the same number of espressos as you would black coffees. Espressos should definitely be kept to a minimum.
COFFEE WITH MILK
One of the reasons people drink black coffee is because they believe milk to be fattening. While it is a good idea to cut down on dairy, both for yourself and the environment, drinking coffee with a little milk won’t be too bad for you. Especially if you do so in moderation.
Drinking a coffee with milk does contain more calories. For example, a black coffee contains around 2 calories, whereas a latte contains around 42. This seems like a huge difference. But, when you factor it into your daily recommended intake of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories, it doesn’t really compare. Even if you drink five lattes a day (which we do not recommend due to the caffeine content), you will barely have reached 10% of your daily calorie intake.
Another reason not to skip the milk in coffee is that it is simply more fun! Coffees without milk, such as espressos or black coffees, are fine and will give you energy. And many people do enjoy the taste. But there are so many more options when it comes to milky coffees. None of which are worth avoiding for the sake of 40 calories.
If you do want to make your coffee healthier, try swapping to a plant-based milk. The best for coffee are oat and coconut. Coconut does have a strong flavor, but oat doesn’t. Almond is another healthy and delicious option, but isn’t great for the environment.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE
Coffee is a part of most people’s everyday diet, but few people drink it for the health benefits. So, if you’re considering cutting caffeine, take a look at these great health benefits before you make your decision.
IMPROVES ENERGY LEVELS
Everyone knows that caffeine gives you energy. It’s the reason why most of us drink it. Coffee stimulates our nervous system (which is why it’s technically considered to be a drug). This speeds up the messages between your brain and your body. This makes you move faster and generally feel more awake. Too much caffeine can cause you to become jittery and disrupt your focus. But a couple of coffees during the day won’t do any harm.