The healthiest way to take your coffee is, of course, black. But if you can’t stand the taste of the bitter grounds on their own, we have a few pieces of good news for you. Firstly, some studies show that probably means you’re not a psychopath — congratulations. But secondly, there are other healthy options out there to add flavor to your beverage — without adding heaps of sugar.
After one too many long nights at the office, it’s not uncommon to experience mental fatigue. In addition to getting your mental health back on track to make sure it doesn’t lead to more serious health problems, drink some coffee: A 2010 review in the journal Nutrition found caffeine can help decrease the exhaustion you’re feeling by perking your body up.
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.”
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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.
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.
Brushing isn’t the only way to prevent cavities. While coffee is known to stain the teeth, it’s also been found to protect them: A 2009 study published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry found drinking coffee can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but there’s a catch—you have to drink it black. Because unfortunately adding in sugar isn’t going to do your smile any good.
For a long time, research showed drinking coffee was associated with a higher risk of conditions like heart disease. Later, scientists identified a problem with many of the studies: they didn’t control for other behaviors. Coffee drinkers, it turns out, are also more likely to smoke, drink, and be inactive, all behaviors that raise the risk of many chronic diseases.
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.
Studies have shown that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against a liver disease called cirrhosis. If you have never heard of cirrhosis before, it a condition where your liver tissue is damaged and replaced with scar tissue. It can develop several ways like from infections, obesity, and other conditions, but especially from drinking too much alcohol. Drinking coffee on a regular basis has been shown to be a natural detox to help protect against the onset of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis. (8)
Historically, it was first recorded as a drink just over 500 years ago, beginning on the Arabian peninsula, but there is a speculation that its use as a stimulating beverage stretches back more than 1,000 years in various ancient and indigenous cultures. Now, it is consumed in nearly every country of the world, and almost daily, even 5-6 times a day. While offices have larger machines, at home people often have single serve coffee makers which work best for the small requirements.
Independent studies on the coffee consumption patterns of men and women suggest that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout. Researchers in the Nurses’ Health Study analyzed the health habits of nearly 90,000 female nurses over a period of 26 years and found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout. The benefit was associated with both regular and decaf consumption: women who drank more than four cups of regular coffee daily had a 57 percent decreased risk of gout; gout risk decreased 22 percent in women who drank between one and three cups daily; and one cup of decaf per day was associated with a 23 percent reduced risk of gout when compared to the women who didn’t drink coffee at all. Similar findings have been documented for men: another large-scale study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that men who drank four to five cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of gout by 40 percent, and that those who consumed six cups or more lowered gout risk by 60 percent.
One easy way to keep your heart strong? Drink coffee—just don’t overdo it. A 2012 study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure found drinking one or two cups each day could protect against heart failure, decreasing the risk by 11 percent. Drinking more than five cups, on the other hand, could actually do the opposite, potentially causing your body harm.
The potential health benefits of drinking coffee are exciting news, but that doesn’t mean more is better. For some people, coffee can cause irritability, nervousness or anxiety in high doses, and it can also impact sleep quality and cause insomnia. In people with hypertension, coffee consumption does transiently raise their blood pressure — although for no more than several hours — but no correlation has been found between coffee drinking and long-term increases in blood pressure or the incidence of cardiovascular disease in patients with pre-existing hypertension.
Previous research had suggested as much. For example, a 2017 report in the Annual Review of Nutrition, which analyzed the results of more than 100 coffee and caffeine studies, found coffee was associated with a probable decreased risk of cardiovascular disease—as well as type 2 diabetes and several kinds of cancer. The new paper, published Thursday in PLOS Biology, identifies a specific cellular mechanism by which coffee consumption may improve heart health.
"Caffeine for treatment of Parkinson disease" Ronald B. Postuma, MD, MSc, Anthony E. Lang, MD, Renato P. Munhoz, MD, Katia Charland, PhD, Amelie Pelletier, PhD, Mariana Moscovich, MD, Luciane Filla, MD, Debora Zanatta, RPh, Silvia Rios Romenets, MD, Robert Altman, MD, Rosa Chuang, MD and Binit Shah, MD. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318263570d August 1, 2012. Abstract. Accessed 15 December 2013.
Cardamom is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, because it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine, but that’s not the only reason to add the spice to your java. A two-tablespoon serving has just 36 calories, is loaded with fiber, essential minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds; research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found cardamom contains compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells and stunt new cancer cell growth. Cardamom has also been known to improve blood circulation in the body, help control cholesterol, cure dental diseases, and infections like gonorrhea. It’s even been said to cure impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
If you’re working 80 hours a week, getting three hours of sleep a night, and have no energy because you’re living on carb-heavy takeout, drinking coffee non-stop during the day is a problem. It’s not the coffee; it’s the fact that you’re using the coffee as a crutch. Craving a steaming hot cup or two is fine, being totally dependent on coffee to function isn’t.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.