The debate continues: coffee- is it good for you or bad for you?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve read contradicting articles about whether or not your coffee habit is doing you more harm than good. And with all of the nutrition and health info out there, it can be hard to decipher between what’s what and the best food choices and healthy habits for you.
So, to take the guess work out of whether or not you need to give up your morning life support, I’ll break it down for you below:
First things first: everyone’s body and chemical makeup are different, so this can be very individualized, because caffeine can affect us all differently.
That being said, my overall answer to can you or can’t you drink coffee is… YES you can.
Coffee itself is not bad (again, if it works for your body). It’s actually really high in antioxidants and studies show that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a lower risk of stroke. It also gives you a nice boost, which can help with energy and focus. It’s especially beneficial when you drink it about 30 minutes prior to working out. This provides added energy to power through that hot Yoga class, and your workout helps to naturally burn off some of the caffeine.
BUT… there are some guidelines to follow to help ensure your coffee is supporting your health goals and not sabotaging them.
Below are some reasons why coffee gets a bad wrap and how to keep it healthy:
One major reason coffee takes a turn for the worst is because of how we drink it. You know, all those frothy frappuccinos and white chocolate mochas? If you’re someone who needs a lot of milk/ cream, sugar and syrups, you might want to think again. Unfortunately these add-ins negate the benefits of the coffee and instead create an inflammatory, sugar bomb situation.
But, if you’d rather give up your coffee completely than drink it black (not a bad thing), there are some healthy ways to enhance your coffee’s taste while still giving your body all the goodness.
Some healthy swaps + simple tricks that can improve your morning joe:
- Instead of regular milk or cream: try coconut cream- this gives the same creaminess with a nice dose of healthy fats and NO dairy (which can also cause inflammation and disrupt your digestion).
- Instead of sugar: put a teaspoon of raw honey, a couple drops of liquid stevia (as in 2 drops- a little goes a long way), or maybe some coconut sugar, which is a 1:1 swap for regular sugar. These are all natural sugars that do not have quite the same negative effect on your blood sugar as the processed kinds, and they even have some beneficial health properties.
Another reason coffee may be deemed as bad is because like sugar, coffee can cause an energizing high and sometimes brutal burn. It’s very normal to feel lethargic and in need of more caffeine after drinking a cup of coffee, but the following tips can help you avoid, or at the very least decrease this:
- Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach. It’s important to eat with or before your coffee so that your body has food and nutrients in its system to help slow the effect of the caffeine on your body. Aim to eat some protein specifically, so that you have sustained energy and stamina.
- As previously mentioned, exercising after drinking coffee will help put the caffeine to good use and will help your body burn it off more gradually. Ever feel anxious after drinking coffee? Exercising is a nice way to handle that anxiety in a healthy way.
Lastly, cap your intake at around 1-2 cups per day. If you’re currently drinking more, no worries. Just gradually ween yourself down. Increase your water intake and drink more herbal tea. Green tea is a nice way to cut back on coffee as green tea contains less caffeine and even higher benefits. Try replacing that 3pm coffee with a cup of Jasmine green tea.
*** BONUS: Coffee beans tend to contain mold, and therefore your best bet is to drink organic coffee. I try to keep that in the house, but I definitely don’t always stick to this when out, because let’s be honest, my desire for that cup of coffee definitely outweighs the benefits of organic… at least in the moment 😉.
Have your own tricks to or favorite ways to enjoy your coffee? I’d love to hear!