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The Benefits of Coffee

How to Enjoy a Healthier Daily Cup of Joe

Coffee has gotten a bad rap in recent years, and with good reason.  The coffee that the bulk of Americans are drinking is loaded with additives, sugar and other unnatural ingredients which are harmful to our health.  This post is in no way meant to tout the consumption of the coffee drinks that have become the popular mainstay of the morning routine, but rather to offer a redemptive take on the benefits of the pure form of the dark liquid given to us by nature!

On that note, keep in mind that as I talk about coffee in this post, I am speaking of black coffee, and know that as you add sweeteners, cream, whip, or any other delight, that those additions are the basis of coffee’s increased popularity and decreased nutritional value.  Here are the soundly tested benefits of coffee:

  • Coffee has been shown to prevent diabetes – Dr. Frank Hu, Professor with the Harvard School of Public Health, reviewed nine studies done on coffee and type 2 diabetes with 193,000 participants, and 28% were at lower risk for the disease after drinking 4-6 cups of coffee a day.
  • Coffee contains magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, resulting in more regulated blood sugar.
  • Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee daily lowers the risk of heart rhythm disturbances in both men and women, as well as the risk of stroke for women.
  • Linked to the lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (especially in men) – a consistent finding over numerous studies.  The risk was substantially lowered by drinking 3-5 daily cups – by 65% in a twenty-year study.

Coffee contains only 7 calories per 6 ounces, and it is believed that decaffeinated contains the same benefits as full strength.  The caffeine is really the key negative of coffee, as it can be harmful in large doses.  It is still up for debate though, as new studies continue to find the benefits to outweigh the harm.

Moderation and keeping the coffee pure are the best bet when enjoying a cup of morning joe!  Use sugar-free creamer, or heavy whipping cream (less than one gram of sugar) and a natural sweetener, like Truvia, to flavor your cup.  The popular drinks served at the coffee houses, on the other hand, are loaded with calories, sugar and a lot of fluff!  They are also a costly treat, and although I occasionally indulge in a sugar-free cappuccino, I make most of my coffee drinks at home.  Here is a simple iced coffee recipe:

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Chilled brewed coffee (strong – remember, it’ll get thinner due to milk and ice)
  • Sweetener (I use Truvia)
  • Milk (Use unsweetened soy milk, or heavy whipping cream)

Directions

Fill a tall glass with ice.  Pour in chilled brewed coffee to desired strength (about 1/3 of glass for mild strength – ½ for stronger).  Sweeten as desired.  Top with milk.

Yummy!

Try making your own specialty coffee drink at home with this simple, healthy recipe.