Tips For a Healthier Coffee Habit

To many of us, a day without coffee is a day without sunshine. Coffee is liquid sunshine. A hot cup of good coffee is comforting. It is energizing. The warm cup in our hand feels like we are hanging-up being with a good friend. Coffee always seems to be there when we need it and even when we don’t. Bottom line: We coffee lovers need our coffee. Yet, many health experts criticize the coffee habit that many people have. They would rather that coffee lovers breakup their relationship with that hot, brown brew and go meet someone healthier … like a glass of fruit juice. Well, for true coffee lovers, this is unlikely to happen. However, what we can do is take the best that coffee offers and make some changes in our coffee habit to make the relationship a more positive one. Like most changes in life this may be a small challenge, but making the changes is superior to giving up coffee. And, if we get to keep coffee around, and get healthier, why not?

Is Coffee Really Bad For You?

Some people would like to convince you that coffee as a terrible, toxic brew that abuses your body. However, it is best to put coffee in context. Is coffee any better or worse than, say, alcohol or ice cream? Coffee is just another food. It is a bean people have been brewing into a drink for centuries. You could spend weeks reading all the research into whether coffee is good or bad and still not come to any clear conclusion. But, if you look closely at coffee and all the research, what it will come down to is who you are and how much coffee you drink of it.

Coffee does contain caffeine which makes some folks REAL happy, others it just makes jittery, still others have to be careful with stimulants like caffeine for various health reasons. Some health reports say small quantities of caffeine can have health benefits. Too much caffeine is not good for anyone. The younger you are the general rule is the better your body can handle the caffeine. The older one gets, the more difficult it can be for a person to handle caffeine, particularly in large amounts.

So, the first thing to consider is how much coffee are you really consuming? Coffee should be considered a luxury. Something to be sipped and appreciated. O.K., some days it is a down right necessity in the morning and time considerations may force a person to down coffee in gulps. That, however, is NO way to drink coffee all the time. If that is your habit you are doing your body and coffee a disservice. If you are drinking tons of cheap, poorly prepared coffee, just so you can drink coffee, again, you are being very disrespectfully of your body and coffee. Start paying attention to drinking coffee in moderation. Take the time to sip and appreciate it (at least once in awhile). Anything, including coffee, that you over indulge in can have a negative health impact.

So, here is a good place to bring up decaffeinated coffee. There is nothing ‘macho’ about having to always drink regular coffee. You have to think of decaf as expanding one’s relationship with coffee. Look on the bright side: By drink decaf coffee you can drink a lot more coffee without pushing yourself into anxiety. Decaffeinated coffees use to be terrible. Most never tasted like coffee, just watery imposters. Nowadays there are some fantastic decaf coffees that you can purchase in whole bean or ground. Coffee can be a wicked relationship to maintain as you get older and wiser. Tame that beast a bit with good, quality decaf options. They are available and your body will thank you. One more tip: Start making pots of coffee half-and-half … half decaf, half caffeinated. No body in going to arrest you for creating the type of coffee brew that best suits your needs.

Do you want to make coffee bad for you? Just keep dumping in all those synthetic additives for favor; add tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners; add buckets of synthetic creamers. A touch of cream and sugar once in a while isn’t a big deal. But, if you have to add all kinds of favoring and sweetening agents in order to drink coffee then clearly there is either something wrong with the coffee (or how it is being prepared). If coffee in a luxury, then a coffee drink is decadence. Espressos, mochas, and so forth are great coffee drinks. There is nothing wrong with adding some spark to the coffee relationship by having a sinful coffee drink now and then. But, if we are talking health, then those decadent drinks are something you do once in awhile, not all day long. Having to add tons of flavors/sweeteners to a cup of coffee all day long means you WANT the coffee to be bad. It means there is something else going on between you and coffee because you sure aren’t drinking the coffee to drink coffee.

If You Must Dress Your Coffee Up, Think Organic

Coffee purists will always just want that pure taste of coffee with nothing added. For them, adding anything to a good cup of coffee is heresy. Not everyone wants to be a coffee purist. Many people like to dress their coffee up, add a bit zing to their coffee experience. Instead of adding fake cream or fake flavors to your coffee consider going organic, maybe even adding (gasp) the power of a few antioxidants.

Spices are the spice of life for a reason. Consider adding a SMALL pinch of cinnamon to your coffee. Cinnamon is healthy stuff in small quantities. You can sprinkle a tiny amount on a cup of coffee or a pinch to the grounds when you brew a pot. The same applies to cardamom, cloves and mint. A closely guarded secret of coffee purist is the drop of vanilla extract. They know they shouldn’t do it, know they shouldn’t enjoy it, but they do.

Once you go down the road of spicing up coffee there may be no going back. Some coffee lovers have created subtle spiced blends of coffee that have been previously unknown to this world – and a few that should never have been discovered. But the successes with spicing up coffee are usually impressive. For example, try adding a touch of coconut oil.

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest natural substances one can find in a well stocked kitchen. It contains healthy fatty acids and lauric acid (lauric acid exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties which is a healthy thing). Start with adding only a drop. Even a touch of coconut oil each day can help stimulate your metabolism. For something more exotic try a tiny splash of coconut milk. If you like it, add a splash more … with a drop of vanilla.

The possibilities are endless and the organic options are so much better for you than fake stuff. This approach to coffee may get people thinking you are exotic, of strange, but either way you will know you have made the healthier choice.

Coffee Should Not Be a Monogamous Relationship

Coffee loves really enjoy waking up, smelling that coffee brewing and then getting that first cup. Coffee lovers in a hurry can’t wait to get that first, hot, cup as they rush off to whatever it is that has them in such a hurry. But, there are other liquids in the world, and many are critical to your health – like water. Coffee drinks do not need to be monogamous with coffee. A glass of water in the morning to ready yourself for that cup of coffee is a healthy thing to do. In fact, if you are a big coffee drinker, you should really be drinking at least a glass of water in the morning and one at night. Think of it as flushing out all that old coffee and readying your body for that next, fresh cup of coffee. Just try adding a few extra glasses of water with your coffee drinking. You might discover a secret that some of coffee drinkers have known for years – that a couple glasses of water during the day can add some extra ‘buzz’ to your coffee drinking.

When you picture your first cup of coffee in the morning, try picturing it with a small glass of orange juice next to it. Go ahead. The coffee might even wink at that cute new friend. Drinking a lot of coffee can strip the body of key nutrients and that orange juice is there just to help you appreciate your coffee even more. Try it, you’ll like it. It doesn’t have to a large juice. It doesn’t have to be orange juice, but a little juice in the morning (and throughout the day, if possible) will be helpful. Drinking lot’s of coffee can be hard on your system. Adding some water and juice to your routine is good for you. Coffee will not get jealous and leave you for having a better relationship with key fluids to staying healthy.

Coffee Offers Both A Social and Meditation Option

The human mind tends to be in a particularly receptive state early in the morning. Sipping a stimulating cup of well-brewed coffee in the morning can one’s mind more receptive to new ideas. Sipping a cup of hot coffee in the morning is a tried and true method to prepare one’s mind for the coming day.

Now, this combination of hot coffee and the mind’s receptive nature in the morning can also work for you socially. Sitting with someone in the morning having coffee is a great time to make suggestions that might not get a fair reception later in the day. For example, suggesting that vacation you have been wanting, or skipping movie night and going out to see a new musician in town.

Want to get a group moving in the same direction, or gather help for a plan? Then, figure out how to get them all together in the morning for that first cup of coffee (show them your exotic side by offering coconut milk and/or a touch of vanilla). You might be surprised at all the good will you can garner by proposing a plan or project over a cup of coffee in the morning.

Also, consider that one of the oldest uses of coffee was in religious ceremonies by Sufi mystics. And, that coffee cup divination is still popular today in many parts of the middle east and eastern Europe. Obviously, coffee has proven it’s social and meditative powers.

Having a bit of trouble getting momentum on making coffee a healthier habit? Try re-reading this article tomorrow morning over a cup of well made, hot coffee – it will all make more sense.

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