Aside from caffeine, coffee has several health benefits. Antioxidants, found in small amounts in one cup of coffee, can help lower inflammation, protect against chronic disease, and stabilize free radicals. Depending on the roast level, coffee can be roasted in a variety of ways. A light roast has more antioxidants than a dark roast, while a dark roast has fewer antioxidants. Aim for a medium roast for the best health benefits.
Decaf coffee contains fewer calories and is also good for your health. However, people sensitive to caffeine should switch to decaf coffee. Decaff coffee also contains antioxidants and shows similar benefits to full-strength coffee. People on an anti-inflammatory diet should reduce the sugar in their coffee. For those who are on a diet low in carbohydrates, adding spices such as cinnamon or turmeric can make a cup of coffee even healthier.
One way to make coffee healthier is to brew it yourself. Aeropress coffee has fewer caffeine than drip coffee, and you can experiment with different roasts without the added sugar. In addition to avoiding sweetened lattes, Dr. Shanta Retelny recommends rotating your coffee beans. If you don’t have time to buy your own beans, visit a local coffee shop or buy them online.
Sugar-free versions of coffee are the best choice. While flavored coffee is popular, sugar-laden drinks can be unhealthy for your health. Sugar adds calories and fat, which increase your risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, women should limit their intake of sugar by six teaspoons a day. One teaspoon of flavoring, such as vanilla, can add approximately a half-cup of sugar to a cup of black coffee.