The healthiest way to take your coffee is, of course, black. But if you can’t stand the taste of the bitter grounds on their own, we have a few pieces of good news for you. Firstly, some studies show that probably means you’re not a psychopath — congratulations. But secondly, there are other healthy options out there to add flavor to your beverage — without adding heaps of sugar.
For the sake of something real journalists call “integrity” I should point out that coffee has also been shown to have a small, yet positive (which isn’t a good thing in this case) relationship with bladder (25) cancer. However, the same study that reported these finding, also reported that this relationship could also be linked to smoking or other dietary habits.
If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, swap out those artificial vanilla and hazelnut creamers and syrups for a naturally tropical taste by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil. And while coconut oil might not be the “cure-all” it’s made out to be, adding it to your coffee may have a few health benefits, from contributing to weight loss to possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease. While these health claims are still under investigation, we think it's worth adding it to your coffee for the flavor alone. The creaminess is crazy.
Some curious minds wanted to know exactly who was protected. And why? How? These studies showed that in people with Type 2 diabetes coffee intake was correlated with insulin spikes and increased blood sugar after a meal. Further research has shown that the caffeine in coffee might be the culprit responsible for the secretion of higher levels of insulin from the pancreas.
In fact, coffee shows more antioxidant activity than green tea and cocoa, two antioxidant superstars. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. Numerous studies have cited coffee as a major — and in some cases, the primary — dietary source of antioxidants for its subjects.
Malignant melanomas are the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer and one of the most common cancer types in the United States. Studies have found that there is potentially as much as a 20 percent lower risk when a person drinks a minimum of four cups of coffee daily. The type of coffee matters here, as the study showed that decaffeinated coffee was not as effective. Studies on non-melanoma cancer and coffee have shown that people were 17 percent less likely to develop the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, if they drank three or more cups of coffee daily.
There are more than 1,000 compounds in coffee, many of which likely harbor anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds, according to a recent BMJ research review. “The coffee bean itself has antioxidants in it, which help prevent free radical damage that could potentially lead to cancer,” explains Susan Oh, MPH, director of the nutrition research program at Johns Hopkins, who was not involved with the study.
If you lust after those frothy frozen coffee drinks at your local coffee shop, then this mochaccino recipe is for you. This easy homemade version uses low-fat milk, cocoa powder, coffee and just a little bit of maple syrup, so it has a fraction of the calories of a traditional version. (A small mocha frappuccino at Starbucks is 270 calories!) Coffee ice cubes, made by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray, make this drink frosty and give it a big, strong coffee flavor. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.