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Coffee. Healthy? Not healthy? It’s easy to get whiplash with the conflicting information out there, which is a real crying shame because for some people [insert: me] it’s the highlight of their day. The thing about coffee is that it’s a shining example of what we so often say at Prescribe Nutrition: it works for some, but not for others. We know a black and white response would be easier, but hey, we so often live in the grey so let’s just get used to it. This is a hugely popular topic so we devoted a live video to last week…check it out below. Today we’re recapping why coffee can indeed be very healthy, why it may not be for you, and how to make coffee and drink it wisely.

Coffee is more than just a hot, caffeinated beverage to get you going in the morning. Check out all the powerfully positive things behind your cup o’ joe:

  • Coffee is extremely high in antioxidants which protect our body against free radicals [which promote disease, aging and even cancer]. The polyphenols [antioxidants] in coffee are known to prevent heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
  • Relatively speaking, it’s high in B vitamins and minerals, particularly if you’re having more than one cup.
  • Authority Nutrition lists powerful, evidence based reasons that will likely having you headed to the coffee room:
    • Coffee can increase brain power by releasing neurotransmitters.
    • It can improve physical endurance and stimulate your metabolism [to burn fat]…but be careful there as using it as a diuretic can have the opposite effect long term [thanks to hormones].
    • It can drastically lower the risk of Type II Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and liver disease.

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Ok so why do we even bother with water we should just be living off of coffee amiright? No, let’s slow down. Coffee has its time and its place. Overdoing coffee can cause a handful of issues like stressing out our hormones [cortisol in particular], dehydration and sleep disturbance. Some negative aspects of coffee:

  • Anyone prone to anxiety or panic attacks may want to steer clear of caffeine. Certain people cannot breakdown caffeine properly and in turn they can experience heart palpitations or high levels of anxiety, which is not fun. At all.
  • Have sleep issues? Either avoid drinking coffee after 2pm or avoid it all together!
  • Digestion can be greatly affected by coffee. It can cause ‘urgent’ bathroom trips or even constipation if you’re relying on it and not drinking enough water. Some people get awful acid reflux with coffee. This is your body telling you to HOLD UP. When it comes to digestion and coffee, you may want to take a little “break” from it for a few months + to reset your body and see how you do without it
  • Pregnancy and caffeine don’t mix, so you know, go easy there.

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Let’s review some of the rules Prescribe Nutrition abides by:

  1. We aim for one cup a day in the AM. Sometimes we have a second, but when we’re trying to live clean and get awesome sleep, we really keep it to one.
  2. Every day, before coffee, we drink a tall glass of lemon water in advance. Why? Coffee is very acidic, lemon is very alkalinizing, so we detox before we ‘tox.
  3. We drink our coffee/espresso black or we drink it with clean ingredients. We don’t put crap in our coffee. Simple as that.
    • Coffee additions to avoid: Creamers such as Coffee Mate – this stuff is FILLED with garbage – please avoid! Yes, even a little everyday can throw off your health. Sugar, flavored syrups, fat-free commercial milk. In general all the fancy bizarre coffee drinks [cinnamon maple donut bacon latte?] being sold these days. These drinks can easily pack more sugar than a can of soda, contain artificial ingredients and can quite literally sabotage your efforts at an otherwise healthy diet.
    • Coffee additions to embrace: full-fat organic milk or cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, nut milk, hemp milk, honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia.
  4. Always have SOMETHING to eat with or before your coffee. It doesn’t need to be a huge meal, but if you have it on an empty stomach your blood sugar will look like a hockey stick on a graph, and you will crash down burning later. Have a hard boiled egg, a full meal, whatever has a bit of protein in it.
  5. Interested in the Bulletproof coffee craze? We get it – it’s tasty. We have opinions on it too [surprise, surprise]. Check out our Bulletproof coffee blog right here.

Ok that’s a wrap. Why don’t you kick back and take a coffee break. Now you know how to make coffee healthy. Need a little cream in your cup? Check out our favorite coffee creamer alternatives.