The “is coffee good for you?” debate has raged on for years, but researchers finally seem to be coming to a conclusion: yes, it is! Coffee has recently been definitively linked with lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, and readers of this Atlantic article found that coffee can pretty much improve your health across the board. That’s certainly good news for coffee drinkers everywhere. Unfortunately, some of us tend to cancel out coffee’s many health benefits, or are simply not brewing it to its full potential. In this article, learn how to make your morning cup of joe super healthy.
1. Brew With a Paper Filter
Sorry to all of you who prefer to make your coffee in a French press or in the Turkish style! Brewing with a paper filter, whether you opt for a drip coffeemaker or a pour-over method, can help remove a substance known as “cafestolis,” which is one of the few not-so-great substances that’s found in coffee. Cafestolis has been correlated with an increase in LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, so it’s definitely something to avoid. The good news: paper coffee filters can help keep this stuff out of your beverage.
For you espresso fans, you’re still getting some cafestolis in your shot or latte, but it’s not as much as you’d get from, say, French press coffee. If you’re very concerned about your cholesterol levels, however, it may be wise to switch to a drink that’s gone through a filter.
2. Avoid Cream and Sugar
By itself, coffee is a low-calorie drink, with just 7 calories per 6-ounce serving. Once you start adding in the cream and sugar, though, your pick me up can quickly verge into dessert territory. A splash of half & half will run you 46 calories, some non-dairy creamer (many of which contain lots of sugar) will cost you 48, and a teaspoon of sugar will add 23 calories per cup of coffee. While that may not seem like a lot, these numbers add up if you drink multiple cups a day.
You could stick to skim milk and artificial sweeteners, but many people find that skim milk is too watery, and the artificial sweeteners can also be fairly dicey when it comes to your health. A better solution? Find a coffee and brew style that will allow you to enjoy a cup of it without any additives at all.
3. Add Cocoa and Cinnamon
If you were worried about being stuck with boring black coffee forever, fear not! Adding cinnamon and cocoa powder can not only spice up your drink, but also improve some of the health benefits of drinking coffee in the first place. Cocoa powder can help bring out some of the subtler flavors in your coffee while simultaneously helping to lower your blood pressure. A sprinkle of cinnamon adds a little kick to your brew, and it can help you use more of the beneficial antioxidants that come in your coffee. An added bonus: cinnamon may help your body control your blood sugar throughout the day.