Cardamom has been dubbed the “queen of spices”—and it’s not just because of its rich, warm taste. In some ancient medicinal traditions, this powerful spice was used to treat everything from gum infections to tuberculosis. And while we’re not recommending you try to whip up a DIY cardamom cure for either of those, one recent study suggests the spice may have antimicrobial properties so you can fight off pesky bacteria like E. coli. And adding it to your coffee might just improve your social health, since it’s been used as a natural breath freshener and, well, coffee breath is a thing.
Previous research had suggested as much. For example, a 2017 report in the Annual Review of Nutrition, which analyzed the results of more than 100 coffee and caffeine studies, found coffee was associated with a probable decreased risk of cardiovascular disease—as well as type 2 diabetes and several kinds of cancer. The new paper, published Thursday in PLOS Biology, identifies a specific cellular mechanism by which coffee consumption may improve heart health.
If you regularly imbibe (2 to 3 alcoholic drinks per day), drinking more than 2 cups of coffee daily was shown to protect the liver from damaging diseases, like cirrhosis (or alcoholic liver disease). According to a Finish study, jointly conducted by Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere, coffee consumption decreased the liver-damaging enzyme GGT (or gamma-glutamyl transferase) levels by up to 50-percent.
Feeling a little slow lately? All it might take to get your body back to working at a normal pace is a little coffee. A 2005 study from the Radiological Society of North America found it doesn’t take much—just a couple cups—to improve your reaction time, making you better at everything from noticing something scary like smoke in your home (and realizing you need to grab the fire extinguisher ASAP) to breaking your car for a stop sign.
A 2014 study for Flavour found that the color of your coffee mug can influence how sweet or bitter you perceive a cup of coffee to be. Although not definitive, the study found when drinking from a white mug, subjects perceived coffee to be more intense than when drinking from a transparent mug. Of course, more research is needed, so take this study with a grain of salt, but it may be worth swapping out your white mug for a transparent one to make your coffee "taste" less bitter (and thus reduce the amount of sugar you add to it).
There’s no need to try anything crazy; the only performance enhancer you really need is coffee. Research has shown its ability to give workouts a boost and increase athletic performance, and that’s exactly why you’ll find so many Olympians drinking it: One report from the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found the majority of the 20,686 Olympic athletes analyzed had caffeine in their urine.
Caffeine affects every person differently, so if you experience any negative side effects, consider cutting your coffee consumption accordingly. It takes about six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, so limit coffee drinking to early in the day, or switch to decaf, which only contains about 2 to 12 mg of caffeine per eight ounces. Always taper your coffee consumption gradually. Avoid quitting coffee cold turkey; doing so can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms that may include severe headache, muscle aches and fatigue which can last for days.
The fat in coconut milk is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs)—one in particular is called lauric acid, which your body converts into an antiviral and antibacterial compound that destroys a variety of disease-causing organisms. Aside from boosting your immunity, the MCFAs in coconut milk are rapidly metabolized in your body, which means they’re less likely to be stored as fat. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamins C, E and B, antioxidants, magnesium and iron—all of which work toward promoting healthy bones, teeth, brain, kidneys, and heart health.
You can improve your coffee by adding real cream. This means organic and grass-fed. Cream like this can be purchased at all major health food stores, and will give you the health benefits of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). There is also usually a nice amount of vitamin K2 present in full-fat cream. This is important because adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been linked with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Full-fat cream has even been linked to more successful weight loss.
Do you drink your coffee first thing in the morning? You may want to think again.”Caffeine causes sugar to release into the bloodstream, creating a spike in insulin and a resulting drop in blood sugar,” says health coach and nutritionist Kristie Santana. “This will cause your body to require even more sugar, which will lead to food cravings.” Additionally, studies have found that drinking coffee first thing in the morning interferes with our bodies’ production of cortisol, which can increase your tolerance to caffeine and make you more reliant on the drink.