12 Healthy Ways to Drink Coffee

Health benefits of coffee

You have probably heard by now that coffee is bad for your health. Although there is some truth to this statement, it isn’t entirely true, as coffee comes with numerous health benefits. However, you should first learn how to drink coffee, including the right time of the day, the size of the cup, the ideal setting, etc.

Healthy Ways to Drink Coffee

Once you learn these 12 seemingly unimportant details, you will become a true fan of coffee, reaping all of its health benefits.

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Quality always matters!

Whether we’re discussing coffee or a bar of milk chocolate, you should look to buy the best brands available. They come with proof of quality that ensures you drink or eat only the best ingredients available. In this sense, the quality of coffee beans depends on the quality of the beans themselves and the method of their processing. 

In the regions of the world where coffee beans are grown (Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, Mexico, etc.), plantation owners are often tempted to spread the plant with synthetic pesticides. These often have labels that state they are not for agricultural use, as the harmful chemicals end up in the beans you brew and consume.

The stricter the regulation, the less likely is that you’ll end up buying coffee ground from pesticide-ridden beans. That’s why you need to insect the labeling before purchasing coffee and inform yourself about sustainable agriculture and the conditions your favorite beans were produced in.

Choosing an organic brand is the best option, as organic coffee is never cultivated using pesticides and/or herbicides. You’ll often have to pay extra for quality brands but the price difference is definitely worth it!

Avoid a late afternoon coffee

You’d think that the morning is ideal for a cup of coffee but in general, every period before 2 PM (3 PM at the latest) is perfectly suitable for drinking coffee. Any time later than that and coffee turns into a nemesis of your health, rather than an aid.

Namely, coffee is a stimulant, as you might have already known. The jolts of energy provided by caffeine are what made coffee beans famous across the globe. However, you need to time your cups perfectly, as a late afternoon coffee session will keep you awake deep into the night.

Drinking coffee late in the day or in the evening interferes with your natural sleep pattern. Even if you’ve had a productive day and feel tired in the evening, you will find it hard falling asleep if you’ve had a cappuccino, let’s say, at 8 PM.

For passionate coffee drinkers who have turned their late afternoon cup into a proper ritual they are unwilling to give up, they could make the switch to decaf. Also, tea is a great substitute for coffee, especially in the afternoon, as the English have created an entire tradition around this hot beverage. 

Also, there are people who are unaffected by a late afternoon cup but these individuals are unaffected by caffeine in general. For them, a double espresso won’t make a difference if they took it at 6 PM or 6 AM.

Go easy on the sugar

Sugar plantations turned many people into millionaires in the 18th and 19th century but as the history of slavery teaches us, a huge human toll had to be paid. The same is today, as sugar might be sweet but it can quickly turn sour if you use it indiscriminately.

Not to beat around the bush, if you add too much sugar to your coffee, you are making it unhealthy. Sugar is considered as one of the dietary “white deaths,” alongside flour and salt. These ingredients aren’t harmful on their own but if you eat too much of them, they will mess up your health.

Sugar is the trickiest to avoid, as the modern diet is laden with extra, artificial sugar. If we know that the recommended daily sugar intake is around 36 grams for adults, then you’ll be shocked to read that a liter of your favorite fizzy drink contains three times the amount!

We are bombarded with sugar from food and drinks manufacturers, that there is no good reason to use it in our coffee as well. However, if you like to sweeten your coffee but don’t want to increase the risk of getting diabetes or obesity, use refined sugar substitutes, such as stevia.

Heck, there are even people who sweeten their morning cup of coffee with honey (a great natural sweetener but an emergency trip to the toilet waiting to happen)!

Consider cocoa as a substitute for sugar

Speaking of sugar substitutes, we feel obliged to mention cocoa as well. Namely, cocoa is loaded with antioxidants that slow the aging process and reduce the risk of heart disease. Moreover, cocoa powder does add a flavor to your morning cup that will get your co-workers guessing what it is you added. So, the next time you want to order or make caffè latte, go for caffè mocha instead. 

A cup of coffee in the office 

We have already discussed when the best time to drink coffee but have you noticed that this time window coincides with the time most of us are in the office. We can make use of this fact to boot productivity early in the morning.

Namely, if you ask any person turning up for work at 7 or 8 AM, they will tell you that the early morning coffee is what jumpstarts their workday. However, we recommend easting a bagel or a croissant before the first cup of coffee for digestive reasons.

Savvy employers know that workplace coffee machines are directly linked to productivity, so they buy or rent these apparatus; coffee bags included. The real benefit of a workplace coffee machine isn’t the early-morning dose of caffeine but the opportunity to make an extra cup when energy levels go down by midday.

As an extra perk, coffee machines, alongside water coolers are social hotspots, where workers chat and brainstorm in a relaxed setting. For entrepreneurs who work in creative industries, an office coffee machine is actually how any creative works get done on a 9 to 5 office job!

Coffee is not a meal!

Remember how we said that you shouldn’t drink coffee on an empty stomach? Well, there is a good reason for this, as coffee is considered a stimulant and not a food. However, it can fool our stomachs into thinking that we are full when in reality; we haven’t anything the whole day.

Out body needs fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbs, and fibers to function properly and these are never found together in a cup of coffee. While drinking coffee is beneficial on the one side, on the other coffee beans can’t and shouldn’t serve as a replacement for real food. 

Magical cinnamon

Honey, stevia, and sugar (yes, even it) are all sweeteners. However, if you want your coffee’s taste to carry an extra punch, then we recommend adding cinnamon. This spice is ideal for mixing with coffee, especially cappuccinos.

Moreover, cinnamon lowers blood glucose, just as coffee has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in our organism. Also, it helps regulate cholesterol and triglycerides in people suffering from diabetes. Since cinnamon is rather strong, just a dash if it is enough to flavor your dark coffee, doing away with the necessity to sweeten it.

Cinnamon is sold in super small bags, weighing from 5 to 50 grams. Like with coffee brands, go for high-quality cinnamon, such as Ceylon cinnamon, and stay clear of budget options, like common Cassia cinnamon.

How much coffee do you drink?

So far, we have mentioned a “cup” of coffee on several occasions. However, there are cups and then there are cups. The espresso cup, for example, is incomparable with a mug (or even a jug) that some people use to drink coffee from.

In order to reap all the health benefits of coffee beans, you should drink the hot beverage moderately. In general, drinking too much caffeine comes with numerous side effects, from a sped-up pulse to an increased danger of a stroke.

People’s sensitivity varies but most health authorities recommend 2.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight daily. The average cup contains roughly half the amount, so two cups are the most you should drink per day. This is in line with our recommendations for coffee drinking at the workplace: one cup in the morning and one around midday.

Of course, every coffee drink (there are around 30 of the most popular drinks) contains different levels of caffeine. The maximum you can drink every day (this definitely doesn’t mean you should) is around 4 to 6 cups, depending on the drink. Any more than that and you can expect serious health problems, not to mention that a single cup of coffee cause a laxative effect.

Paper filters

An essential segment of the coffee-drinking culture is the preparation of each and every cup. We’ve mentioned earlier that coffee machines are ideal for office and other communal space but you should enjoy making coffee at home as well.

When you brew your own blend, count on cafestol, a diterpene responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels. Just like beer, coffee needs to be filtered and there is no better filter than a paper one. Buying paper filters exclusively translated into coffee cups almost completely without cafestol but with plenty of caffeine and antioxidants inside. Of course, a paper filter doesn’t prevent 100% of cafestol from ending up in your morning cup, which isn’t so bad, as a small dose doesn’t have negative health implications. 

Low-fat creamers

In order to make many of the types of coffee we have mentioned so far, you have to use milk or another creamer. Low-fat creamers are as artificial as they get and you have learned by now that natural ingredients are much more suited for your favorite hot beverage.

Creamers are highly processed, meaning they contain ingredients hazardous to health, i.e. hard to digest. To make matters worse, there are so many coffee creamers on the market, that it’s impossible to empirically test all of them.

On the other side, such a wide variety of creamers means that you always have healthier options. For instance, full-fat creams from grass-fed cows might sound “heavy,” but they are a far better choice than non-dairy creamers full of suspicious ingredients.

Adding milk to coffee

Creamers are just a nice way to say that you want milk added to your coffee. Whether it’s camel milk or more common cow milk, people all over the globe like to add a few sips of it to their coffee.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as numerous scientific studies have shown that milk contains nutrients important for human development. If your parents told you that milk was good for the bones and teeth, they were right, as milk is loaded with calcium.

Dairy products in general are considered an excellent source of calcium, a mineral responsible for reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Therefore, don’t go for fancy non-dairy creamers when you have organic milk or a different dairy creamer available.

Coffee and dehydration

One of the biggest misconceptions about coffee is that it dehydrates our bodies. Yes, coffee is a diuretic but there are no scientific studies linking coffee drinking with draining water from the human body. Any beverage that contains caffeine causes a mild diuretic effect, increasing the chances that you may need to urinate, thus losing water.

However, simply drinking coffee doesn’t seem to increase the risk of dehydration. On the other side, coffee definitely won’t make you hydrated, so keep this in mind during long journeys or hot days, as you will need to counter a cup of coffee with a refreshing liquid. It’s no wonder then that restaurant specials include espresso and a glass of orange juice.

All in all, coffee is a great beverage that gets many people going in the morning. Millions of people worldwide cannot imagine their day without a single cup of coffee prepared in their favorite way. However, you should learn all the health benefits of coffee before you are ready to fully enjoy the next espresso you order or make on your own. 

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Article Author Details

Nina Simons