Ask Americans what gets them out of bed in the morning, and many will say the same thing – their morning cup of coffee. A unique aspect of our American culture, the morning cup of coffee gives people the jolt of energy to start the day right. And often the coffee consumption doesn’t stop in the morning. Many will have several cups of coffee throughout the day to keep their alertness levels high. While most drink their coffee as a way to stay awake and fend off drowsiness, there are plenty of other health benefits to drinking coffee that are not as well known.
While improving your energy level is the most widely known benefit of coffee, coffee is also full of antioxidants and nutrients that are good for your body. It actually provides more antioxidants to Americans than anything else.
Coffee can even help you burn fat, as caffeine is one of a select few natural substances that have actually been proven to help in fat burning. Studies have demonstrated that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3-11%.
Even the smell of coffee can help you feel less stressed and depressed. A Harvard study determined that people who drank four or more cups a day were 53% less likely to commit suicide, and women who drank that much coffee had a 20% lower chance of being depressed.
Coffee may even help protect against Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain liver diseases.
For all the health benefits of coffee, many coffee drinks include certain additives that may make the coffee worse. If you don’t like your coffee black, there are some things you can do to drink your coffee the way you like and still reap the benefits.
Skip the sugar: Sugar and coffee tend to go together. But adding sugar can override many of the health benefits that are present in coffee. With links to such diseases as diabetes and obesity, there are few things worse to add. Artificial sweeteners aren’t much better, either. If you really need a sweetener, try adding stevia in lieu of sugar.
Quality brands: As with any other food, the quality of the product matters. Since regular coffee beans could be sprayed with different pesticides and toxins that we shouldn’t be eating, organic coffee is generally a healthier option.
Timing: You can get all the benefits of coffee, but if you drink it too late you may be doing more harm than good. As a stimulant, drinking coffee too late can get in the way of a good night’s sleep – and that can cause a different set of health problems. Try not to have coffee past mid-afternoon to avoid messing with your sleep.
Creamers: Low fat and artificial creamers can be processed and thus filled with many unnatural products. Try to avoid these in favor of coconut milk or half and half.
The health benefits of coffee are undeniable, but all it takes are a few small things to make it worse. With a few necessary steps, that morning cup of coffee will do way more for your body than just waking it up.