Coffee…Friend or Foe?

COFFEE IS YOUR FRIEND! Did that perk you up?  As a long time coffee lover, it definitely perks me up!!

Coffee-coffee-13874609-500-313There are wonderful health benefits brewing in your cup. For example, you can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. And at the same time, coffee will support brain health, liver health, and many other functions.

We’ve all heard conflicting comments about coffee’s health effects. Let’s talk about caffeine. Caffeine by itself, regardless of what it is in, can temporarily increase your heart rate, blood pressure and more—especially in those who are sensitive to caffeine. However, studies also say coffee is linked to lowering your risk for heart rhythm disturbances (such as a heart attack and stroke) in men and women.

Let’s take a second and get a little deeper into some of these health issues since we’re on the topic. It has been shown there are some very positive health effects with coffee. Some of these include coffee’s antioxidants and important minerals such as magnesium and chromium.  You are most likely getting more antioxidants from your coffee than many of the other things you might be eating or drinking. Studies from 2004 indicate that “coffee was the single biggest contributor to total dietary intake of antioxidants.”

Additionally, it’s believed that the rich antioxidant content in coffee “dampens inflammation” and may be a protecting factor against liver cancer, gallstones and other types of cancer.  The Mayo Clinic also said, “newer studies have also shown that coffee may have [additional] benefits, such as supporting brain and liver health.”

And in regard to brain health benefits, Dr. Alberto Ascherio, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, says that, “for men, the risk of Parkinson’s disease can be cut by half by simply consuming 150mg of caffeine a day—the amount found in an average cup of coffee.” Likewise, Dr. Wendy R. Galpern of National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says, “when looking at Parkinson’s disease patients, they may be up to 4 to 8 times less likely to have been heavy coffee drinkers.” The researchers aren’t sure why caffeine has this benefit, but they do know that it’s related.

With all this said, there are plenty more studies out there to support coffee as being our “FRIEND”.

So what’s the best way to Optimize your cup of coffee and what makes it not so optimal? The biggest issue isn’t the coffee at all…it is WHAT YOU PUT IN IT that causes most of the problems. It has become a vehicle to add all sorts of things to, most of which are not good for your body. In fact, many of the substances we add to our coffee result in inflammatory and even allergic conditions!  In other words, our coffee becomes toxic because of what we add to it, not because of the coffee itself!

Do you typically add sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, or creamers? How about those Artificial Sweeteners, or milk, or even cream? And heaven forbid if you are hooked on those coffee concoctions available from many fast food chains and coffee shops – they typically add hundreds of additional calories, sugar, chemicals and unhealthy fats. A steady intake of these can lead to all sorts of health issues, such as the ones we talked about above. So when it comes to Optimizing your coffee, GO NAKED…drink it black and you will not only enjoy more of the rich flavors but your body will love you. We know it might be hard to switch, so to help you out we have compiled a quick list of tips you can use to Optimize your coffee and continue to enjoy that cuppa-joe!

Here’s how to Optimize your Coffee…it is easier than you think!  Here a few simple tips:

  • Use freshly ground organic coffee beans whenever possible – it really does make a difference
  • Switch to plain espresso or black coffee – you will love the taste over time
  • Do you like it with a little creamer?  Substitute your usual cream for a coconut creamer
  • If you aren’t allergic to dairy and not currently on the Optimal365 weight loss program, it’s OK to choose some cream – just make sure it is an organic cream
  • AVOID…NO, GET RID OF THE sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • If you fancy a latte, ask your barista to substitute coconut or almond milk (un-sweetened if possible) for regular milk – soy can be OK, but we’ll talk about that another time
  • AVOID ALL artificial sweeteners (nutrasweet, splenda, sweet n low, etc.) – they are a fancy name for poison to your body
  • If you still need a little something to sweeten up your coffee, try Stevia, Truvia, or Xylitol

So go ENJOY your coffee, ENJOY the experience, and ENJOY the entire social aspect associated with this warm (or iced) treat. You can have all these benefits while Optimizing the most popular drink in the world! Personally, I am a former cream in my coffee addict. Now, I love the flavor and LOVE black coffee.  For the first time I can now taste and enjoy the complexity of the different roasts available. And with the abundance of types of coffees we now have today, it is a culinary experience rather than just something to perk you up and looks like mud in your cup!

I hope this has been helpful. If you know of other coffee drinkers, please share this with your friends. And as always, we would love to hear your ideas and suggestions you might have about how to enjoy our coffee even more. This is a great opportunity to share your traditions or insights with others…

Indulge Enjoy and Buon Appetito! And in this case, Cheers!

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