If you don’t like coffee, there is no current recommendation to drink it anyway. However, if we can figure out why coffee might have health benefits, it’s possible that a medication can be developed that provides those benefits without the side effects (or taste) of coffee or caffeine. Or, faced with a choice of a new medication or coffee, one might choose the latter.
Cinnamon actually comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen called the Cinnamomum tree, and it has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any spice, according to research from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It’s been known to reduce inflammation, help lower sugar and triglyceride levels in the blood, soothe nausea, and aid in fat burning. The antiviral and antibacterial properties in the spice are also said to boost your immune system (and ward off colds.) It’s also packed with manganese, iron, calcium.
Do you remember the first time you had a cup of coffee? More likely than not, you were in college and cramming for a final and your roommate suggested brewing up a batch. It might have been love at first sip, or you could have stomached your way through it, hoping it’d help you ace your test. Either way, now that you’re older (and hopefully, wiser), Pearson says to make sure you actually like coffee or if you’re using it as a band-aid to your poor sleep habits. “Coffee is a pick-me-up, but working toward a normal sleep pattern will make life much better than caffeine. If you’re using coffee to survive on inadequate sleep, your body and mind are still tired and you’ll still not be at your best physically and mentally,” she explains. “Chronic inadequate sleep raises stress hormones and contributes to a lot of health problems.”
And those antioxidants? Although researchers have yet to determine the exact mechanisms behind some of the disease-preventing effects, it is important to keep in mind that these compounds may be exerting other beneficial effects, such as acting as an anti-inflammatory. Coffee also contains small amounts of some nutrients, including potassium, niacin and magnesium.
Other studies have tried to tease apart which ingredients in coffee contribute to its health benefits. Those might include its antioxidants, which can combat cancer, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart conditions and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, as well as the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer.
“Absolutely not,” says Donald Hensrud, medical director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program. “You have to enjoy life, and if you enjoy tea, keep on enjoying it. It’s all good. There are health benefits to coffee, to black tea and to green tea.” But there can also be problems associated with higher doses of caffeine, he notes. The amount in more than two cups of coffee a day, for example, can interfere with conception and increase the risk of miscarriage. And, he says, because individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, slow metabolizers may be more susceptible to side effects such as heartburn, insomnia, heart palpitations and irritability.
The next time you notice some dimples, combine coffee grounds and coconut oil to help scrub them away. All right, it’s not that easy—but after time, the caffeine in the mix will help reduce the appearance of cellulite by tightening up the area—and moisturize your skin in the process. For more ways to look great, here are 40 Ways to Guarantee Healthy Skin After 40.
Want to lower your risk of death? A National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health study of more than 400,000 people revealed that drinking coffee might be the answer. Between 1995 and 2008, male participants drinking even just one daily cup reduced their risk of death by 6%. Drinking either 2-3 cups or 6+ cups reduced the risk by 10% during the timeframe of the study. The greatest reduction of death risk was 12% in the group drinking 4-5 cups.
Coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world (global demand is high, so methods of growing it often are chemical fertilizer-pesticide-herbicide intensive). This is bad for you (since pesticide residues can end up in your cup) and really bad for the planet. High demand and the fact that it’s generally grown in poorer countries also means labor practices are a major issue. Buy organic and fair-trade if and when you can.
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Basically, I blend coconut oil and grass-fed organic unsalted butter (yes … butter) into coffee with a dash of vanilla and sometimes a drop of stevia. The blender emulsifies the coconut oil and butter so the texture is more creamy than oily and it is a delicious way to get a boost of beneficial fats. This type of healthy coffee also gives much more extended energy throughout the day without making me jittery.
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.
If you’re constantly resisting down the urge to hit your bloodstream with caffeine, relax. It’s really okay to get a steady stream of java—so long as you’re stopping at a reasonable time before bed (typically 2 p.m., since coffee has a half-life of 8-10 hours), not swallowing a pot a day, and avoiding syrups and artificial sweeteners (check out these 15 ultra-healthy add-ins instead). And we’re not just saying so because the energy jolt is just that good. Coffee also has a slew of health benefits.
The fat in coconut milk is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs)—one in particular is called lauric acid, which your body converts into an antiviral and antibacterial compound that destroys a variety of disease-causing organisms. Aside from boosting your immunity, the MCFAs in coconut milk are rapidly metabolized in your body, which means they’re less likely to be stored as fat. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamins C, E and B, antioxidants, magnesium and iron—all of which work toward promoting healthy bones, teeth, brain, kidneys, and heart health.
For the sake of something real journalists call “integrity” I should point out that coffee has also been shown to have a small, yet positive (which isn’t a good thing in this case) relationship with bladder (25) cancer. However, the same study that reported these finding, also reported that this relationship could also be linked to smoking or other dietary habits.
An alarming 11.8% of American men over the age of 20 have diabetes. Needless to say, it’s a growing concern and one receiving a great deal of attention in the medical community. Between 1986 and 1998, Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. We all know someone who tends to be tired, wired and over-caffeinated!
If you lust after those frothy frozen coffee drinks at your local coffee shop, then this mochaccino recipe is for you. This easy homemade version uses low-fat milk, cocoa powder, coffee and just a little bit of maple syrup, so it has a fraction of the calories of a traditional version. (A small mocha frappuccino at Starbucks is 270 calories!) Coffee ice cubes, made by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray, make this drink frosty and give it a big, strong coffee flavor. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.
If you regularly imbibe (2 to 3 alcoholic drinks per day), drinking more than 2 cups of coffee daily was shown to protect the liver from damaging diseases, like cirrhosis (or alcoholic liver disease). According to a Finish study, jointly conducted by Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere, coffee consumption decreased the liver-damaging enzyme GGT (or gamma-glutamyl transferase) levels by up to 50-percent.
Regardless of what you might come across in health blogs and nutrition magazine, it’s true that coffee lowers the danger of liver cancer. Once again, a steady coffee consumption has been linked to a lower cirrhosis incidence more so alcoholic cirrhosis. Some studies have even indicated an inverse correlation between increased coffee drinking and a reduced risk of cirrhosis- 20% reduction for every cup consumed.
Similar to adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs have been linked to improved weight loss in multiple scientific studies. When it comes to brain health, coconut oil may also be largely beneficial. Some studies have examined the potential links between reduction in Alzheimer’s disease rates and daily ingestion of coconut oil.
If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, swap out those artificial vanilla and hazelnut creamers and syrups for a naturally tropical taste by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil. And while coconut oil might not be the “cure-all” it’s made out to be, adding it to your coffee may have a few health benefits, from contributing to weight loss to possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease. While these health claims are still under investigation, we think it's worth adding it to your coffee for the flavor alone. The creaminess is crazy.
To put this in perspective, the World Health Organization recommends that adults consume 25 grams (or less) of sugar per day. One daily unhealthy choice when it comes to coffee, and you can say hello to 5 or 10 extra pounds in a month or two. To give you another example, a typical Frappuccino can weigh in at 66 grams of sugar – yikes. Drinking coffee black is a simple way to avoid all of these issues, but I will also give you some extra delicious tips to help spice things up.
By making your own creamer at home, you can avoid giving up the taste to steer clear of calories and fat. This recipe for skinny creamer is to die for, especially if you’re a fan of rich dark chocolate and the aroma and puckering goodness of peppermint. Be sure to have some of this healthier sweet treat for the holidays, and share it with your family.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.