Many of my cycling and fitness friends will ask me, “where does coffee fit into a healthy lifestyle?”. I’m not a coffee drinker, but it is a relevant question for many Americans who love their coffee. Along with a healthy diet, what are acceptable healthy beverages? Read this guest post (her second on my blog) by Caroline to get some answers to your burning coffee and health questions.
Where does coffee fit into a healthy lifestyle?
A lot of people assume that a daily dose of coffee isn’t the best way to live a healthy lifestyle. After all, this pitch-black liquid doesn’t look like the answer to all kinds of health problems at first glance. However, scientific study is beginning to prove that your daily brew could be more powerful than you ever imagined. In fact, it helps with everything from indigestion, to insomnia, and even blood pressure!
Whether you’re worried about type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, or you simply want to boost endurance during your workouts; coffee could be the answer to what ails you. If you’re a coffee lover and you’re looking for an excuse to spend more time enjoying your favorite drink, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to look at how coffee can fit perfectly into a healthy lifestyle.
The Benefits of Drinking Coffee
In the past, the high caffeine content of coffee, combined with the fact that many people drink it packed full of sugars and syrups gave the beverage something of a bad reputation. However, studies from various communities have begun to disprove the negative claims about coffee beans, demonstrating that they can help with a range of common problems. For instance:
Coffee makes you smarter
Most people already know that coffee can give them more energy and endurance. However, what they don’t know is that the caffeine in coffee can block a neurotransmitter in the brain called “Adenosine.” This means that other transmitters in your brain like dopamine and norepinephrine can work better, leading to enhanced thought processes and faster-thinking patterns.
Coffee burns fat
Another thing that caffeine is great for? Helping you to get rid of excess fat. In fact, you can find caffeine in almost every commercial fat-burning and exercise supplement on the market today. Studies show that caffeine boosts your metabolic rate by as much as 11%, so you can achieve your weight-loss goals faster.
Coffee Contains Essential Nutrients
Coffee is packed full of essential nutrients like Riboflavin, Vitamin B5, and Magnesium (provided that you get the right beans). These added extras might not seem like much of a big deal at first, but they can add up to better protection against a range of diseases and ailments, including heart disease, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Make Coffee Part of your Healthy Lifestyle
While coffee can be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the most out of this delicious beverage. Packing it full of sugar and other additives can eliminate all the advantages that natural coffee beans have to offer, so before you start brewing your next batch, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Don’t Let a Coffee Habit Mask Other Bad Habits
While there’s nothing wrong with drinking plenty of coffee if you love the flavor and the benefits it brings, it’s important to make sure that you aren’t using the substance as a crutch. If you’re working eighty hours a week and you’re struggling to get to sleep at night, then you shouldn’t be using coffee as a way to get by.
In these circumstances, it’s not necessarily the coffee that’s a problem, but it’s important to recognize that a delicious drink isn’t the answer to all your problems. Maybe sure that you’re drinking it for the right reasons, and don’t go over the top. Research indicates that about four eight-ounce cups a day is fine.
2. Make Sure You’re Drinking the Right Kind of Coffee
The ground coffee you see in jars at supermarkets isn’t the kind you want if you’re looking for health benefits. Ground coffee is one of the most chemically-treated substances in the world, and coffee beans, like anything else, begin to break down once their inner contents are exposed to oxygen.
Pre-ground beans are the enemies of the valuable nutrients and antioxidants that make coffee such a great addition to your healthy living habits. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you always have a fresh supply of whole-bean coffee ready to grind at home. Whole, organic beans maintain their exceptional flavor and high quality, so you don’t miss out on any of the benefits that coffee can bring.
3. Think About What You Put in It
Those pure, delicious ground coffee beans that you mix with water are primed to give you a healthy dose of nutrients and antioxidants. However, when you start adding extra things to the mix, that’s where problems can arise. A lot of people struggle to get the most out of their daily cup of Java because they add artificial creamers, syrups, and sugars in that detract from the things that good coffee can do.
The good news is that freshly-ground and organic coffee has enough natural flavor that you shouldn’t need to add anything extra to the drink. However, if you do feel like you need something a little sweeter, you can always try a touch of organic honey or some cinnamon instead!
4. Drink it at the Right Time!
You don’t have to be a health expert to know that drinking a cup of coffee just before you go to bed might not be the best thing for your health. Coffee is a stimulant, so you should avoid drinking it when you want to get plenty of restful sleep. However, some studies suggest that it’s helpful to drink your java after a meal.
For instance, when you first get up in the morning, make sure that you have your breakfast before you pour yourself a brew. In the bloodstream, caffeine can cause your body to release excess sugar, which causes the pancreas to release insulin. When you haven’t eaten any food, this can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar, which pushes you to eat more food and fast.
5. Take the Time to Enjoy it
Finally, if you really want to make the most out of every cup of coffee, then make sure that you don’t rush your way through the drink every morning, or afternoon at work. We’re living in a world where we’re constantly running from one task to the next, but your cup of coffee should be an excuse to slow down for a moment and really enjoy the flavors and experiences that come with freshly ground beans. The next time you brew a cup of coffee, make sure that you take at least five minutes out to relax, appreciate the taste, and lose yourself in the moment. Not only will you give yourself more time to soak up the benefits of coffee, but you’ll give your body a much-needed break too.
Bio: Caroline is a health writer and a coffee enthusiast. When she’s not writing about the latest wellness and fitness strategies, she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. Over the years, she’s built her expertise writing for numerous brands across the globe and specializes in mental and emotional wellbeing.