Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Ah, coffee, the liquid fuel for millions... according to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO),
the world consumes up to 1.4 billion cups of coffee in a day! That's equivalent to filling 140 olympic sized swimming pools... with coffee (*heart skips a beat* and it is not because of the coffee I just had... swimming in coffee?? yes, yes, yes please!).
Although coffee is filled with antioxidants and an aroma second to none, as a staple in many diets, with well-known side effects, it is important to create healthy coffee drinking habits.
Too much of this liquid magic can be a little heavy on the tannic acid side. For that reason, knowing how your body reacts to coffee, consuming it in limits and adapting a "coffee drinking regime" will keep your body away from major side effects of daily coffee consumption.
Here are a few healthy coffee drinking habits that I have adopted and encourage you to do so:
1. Drink your coffee in the AM
Coffee contains a substantial amount of caffeine, approximately 70mg in one shot of espresso. Avoiding caffeine after 3 pm is your best bet at getting a good night's sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, caffeine has a half life of 3-5 hours. That means that your body could have potentially only burnt off 35mg of caffeine in 5 hours! It's therefore recommended to avoid caffeine at least 7 hours before bed time for deep slumber.
Everyone has different caffeine sensitivity, so it's always best to listen to your body and be aware of the time you consume coffee, if you do regularly. I have found that a coffee between10 -11 am works great for me! I have higher energy levels and good rest too.
2. Watch your caffeine intake
"What goes best with coffee? Another coffee".
As much as I can attest to that, I avoid additional caffeinated drinks and foods. For instance, once I have had a double espresso, which accounts for about 150mg of caffeine (depending on the coffee roast and beans), I avoid any extra caffeinated foods and beverages. However, there are exceptions on days when I am feeling particularly sluggish or haven't had enough rest, when I tend to have an extra shot of espresso (guilty).
The key is to keep your daily caffeine intake to maximum of 400mg a day, even better if you can keep it below 200mg. Too much caffeine results in high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea, jitters and a really bad crash!
If you are not a regular coffee drinker, I suggest sticking to a single shot of espresso in your drinks, every cafe should allow some room for personalisation, just ask and you shall receive.
3. Avoid coffee immediately after/ just before a meal
Coffee can interfere with nutrient absorption and increase the excretion of micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium and calcium among others from food. Sad, I know. Vast research attributes this to the high caffeine content, polyphenols and possibly tannins present in coffee. A study on the effect of coffee on iron absorption published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that a cup of coffee reduced iron absorption by 39% from a hamburger meal when ingested together, whereas tea induced a 64% decrease of iron absorption. However, when coffee was taken an hour before a meal, there was no effect on iron absorption from the meal.
If you drink coffee everyday, be sure to time your coffee... you wouldn't want all those nutrients from breakfast/lunch to be flushed out and result in basically "empty calories."
To get the best of your meals and supplements give yourself about two hours after a meal to have your coffee or wait at least an hour before having your meal after a coffee.
4. Rinse, rinse... and rinse
Coffee contains tannins, these tannins cause coloured compounds in coffee to stick to your teeth and cause a yellowish-brown hue. The good news is, you can avoid this by stepping up your dental regime.
Tannins are a type of polyphenol that can break down in water. Immediately after your coffee rinse your mouth and teeth with water or use a mouth wash, if you have time I would even recommend brushing your teeth after a cup of joe! Don't forget the vital part of flossing your teeth every night to get rid of plaque build up that can easily cause discolouration on teeth.
Disclaimer: The regimen stated above should in no circumstances reduce or alter your regular dentist visits. You need that scheduled dental check up and cleaning regardless!
Coffee might be your true love, but water, is your best friend.
Hydration is key... the master key. I love my coffee, but really don't like the dehydrating effects so I always carry a refillable water bottle with me wherever I go and order water with my coffee at cafes.
I am sure you are aware of the side effects of dehydration including headaches, tiredness, constipation and dehydrated skin which just means it ages faster, and get this, low hydration levels negatively affect your immune system.
My paranoia tends to get the best of me, so for every cup of coffee I have, I counter with an extra 750 ml of water (or more, I would recommend this for tea drinkers too). Make sure you are hydrating your body enough, at least with an extra 2 glasses of water to counter the diuretic effects of coffee/tea.
6. Choose organic coffee
Organic coffee beans are richer in antioxidants and free of man-made chemicals. You reduce the intake of harmful chemicals present in pesticides and artificial fertilisers while concurrently helping combat climate change.
It's a win-win situation for you and mother earth.
7. Add cinnamon
Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee increases the health benefits of your daily java. Cinnamon lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory properties, aids weight loss and tastes good in coffee!
Added benefits and great taste... a pinch of cinnamon a day will spice up your life, in a good way, of course.
8. Avoid adding sugar, artificial creamers or sweeteners to your coffee
If you want your coffee to be healthier, cut out the sugar, artificial sweeteners and creamers, opt for natural sweeteners such as cinnamon, stevia or even honey and whole milk in stead of creamers. Heavily processed condiments will interfere with all the benefits you can reap from coffee and contain a number of doubtful ingredients you don't want to put in your body everyday!
I hope this post was helpful to you. Do you have any habits that you have adopted to make your coffee healthier? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
a latte love,