coffee

Can’t drop the java addiction?

It’s OK. You don’t need to.

“Because the benefits of coffee on health seem to exceed the negative effects, coffee can be regarded as a healthy addition to a person's daily dietary intake,” said Dr. David Vanata, Director of Dietetics and Director of Sports Nutrition at Ashland University’s Department of Health Sciences. 

The perks may include improvements of cognitive function, reduction of certain cancers such as liver, as well as a reduction in Parkinson's disease, Vanata said. It’s also been linked with mood enhancement.

Even athletes can gain from drinking coffee — it can reduce perceived exertion and increase fatty acid oxidation when working out, he said.

“There are several vitamins that can be found in coffee, such as potassium, niacin and magnesium, but the main physiological benefits are probably linked to compounds such as phenolic chlorogenic acid, diterpenes and caffeine,” Vanata said.

Related related: The Shocking Number Of Calories In Your Favorite Coffee Drink

Before guzzling down a cup of your favorite brew, there are some things to keep in mind:

1. “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits from chlorogenic acid appear to be less when roasting coffee longer. So, to maximize the benefits, it appears that having shorter, light or medium roasted coffee would be best,” Vanata said.

2. Although creamers don’t negatively impact the beneficial nutrients found in coffee, many are comprised of flavoring, lipids (fats) and sugar. “Putting a pile of whipped cream on your mocha coffee just adds to the appearance and taste, but nothing else,” Vanata said.

3. To help with portion control when it comes to sweeteners, use a spoon, recommends Baylee Leonhardt, registered dietician at OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals. “If you’re adding syrups, just watch the amount you're pouring into the coffee,” she said.

4. If you like cream or milk with your coffee and want to cut back on calories, try unsweetened almond milk, Leonhardt suggests. “That's a good substitute if you’re looking for a lighter way to go about it,” she said.

5. Try to limit your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams, Vanata suggested. That’s equivalent to about three 8-ounce cups of coffee; however, caffeine content can vary depending on roast, bean type and brand, according to an article by Livestrong. 

“Daily levels of caffeine below 300 milligrams appear to be safe and beneficial,” Vanata said.

“The more caffeine a person consumes daily, the more habituated they become and they develop a tolerance, which allows them to ingest more caffeine without having the negative effects such as anxiety, sleeplessness, increased heart rates,” he said.

Now, if you’re wondering how to brew coffee like a pro, that’s another story.

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Thrive Reporter

Thrive reporter. Graduate of Ontario High School and Ohio State Mansfield. Wife. Mom. Dog lover. Fitness enthusiast. Plant collector. Mac and cheese consumer.