Coffee. Smooth, creamy coffee.
For me it’s a ritual, the first thing I do in the morning. The kettle…the freshly ground, organic, fair-trade beans… and of course, the french press. It’s a ceremonious, really; I cheer myself on, celebrating the fact that I rolled out of bed to face yet another day. Yay, me.
After all, we deserve it right? It’s the little things that make life sweet. Treat yourself!
That’s what I thought, until I recently read an article about the potential health benefits of drinking coffee. Coffee, good for your health? This is great news! Turns out there’s a catch (Sigh, isn’t there always?).
Here’s the scoop: Apparently, not all coffee is created equal. In fact, different beans have different concentrations of caffeine, and the way the coffee is brewed also affects the caffeine levels (drip coffee apparently has more caffeine than espresso as it ‘brews longer’). The benefits of drinking coffee? There’s been dozens of studies linking moderate coffee consumption to health benefits such as reducing your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, various types of cancer, stroke, and even pulmonary problems. Coffee can also help kickstart your metabolism (increasing it up to 20 percent), and even help to curb sugar cravings. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Well according to some, in order to derive the maximum health benefits from your coffee it’s best to drink it black.
Milk, cream, sugar, and other sweeteners not only add extra calories, they affect the way the coffee is processed by your body. Those delectable enhancements really add up! A black, 8 oz. cup of coffee has only 2 calories. Adding 1 tablespoon of cream will add about 52 calories to your Joe. Half- and-half? 20. Milk? Between 5 and 9 calories depending on whether it’s fat-free, almond, or whole milk. Remember that’s per tablespoon added. Adding 1 tablespoon of sugar? 48 calories. To see a list of more ‘extra’s’ click here.
What’s the conclusion? Depending on what you put in your coffee, your morning ‘pick-me-up’ might contain anywhere from about 2 to over 500 calories (I’ll have a Vanilla Frappuccino Blended with Whip, please). Not only that, but the beloved ‘extras’ could be potentially negating any of the positive health benefits of drinking coffee.
- Drink it black
- Choose organic (To avoid harmful pesticides and chemicals, yuck.)
- Grind it yourself (Fresher, tastier, aromatic.)
It may seem like a hard switch. Some have said, “I could never do that.” Well, that’s true, if you convince yourself you can’t, it won’t happen. Start small if you need to, perhaps cutting sugar first, and reducing your cream gradually. Personally, I found it best to just commit wholeheartedly and go cold turkey.
I used to pour buckets of cream and 2-3 heaping teaspoons of sugar into my coffee, every day. Now I’m officially converted. Do yourself, your health, and your tastebuds a favor! Enjoy coffee the way Mother Nature made it. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did!
Photo Credit: Sarah Ackerman