It's time to rethink the way you drink coffee. Why? Because simple tweaks to your daily coffee habit can reap big health benefits. Here are the facts, courtesy of registered dietician, Bonnie Taub-Dix:
- The first coffee habit: You stay alert by drinking several shots of espresso a day. For a better buzz: Switch to regular coffee. The fact is - one shot of espresso has less caffeine than a cup of regular drip coffee. Drinking espresso may also raise your cholesterol. Why? With espresso, there's no paper filter to catch the oils that increase bad-for-you LDL cholesterol.
- Another not-so-good coffee habit: Guzzling giant cups of coffee to get lots of caffeine. The truth is: Caffeine loses its oomph after about five hours. Ingesting mega-jolts of caffeine all at once can increase your anxiety and give you the jitters. For a more mellow, all-day energy boost: Drink one 12-ounce cup of regular coffee in the morning and have a second cup a few hours later.
- Stop drinking coffee with your cornflakes. The good-for-you polyphenols in coffee can keep you from absorbing the iron from the fortified grains, and the calcium from the milk in your cereal. The better bet: Eat your cornflakes at home, and grab a coffee later in the morning at work. Add more calcium to your diet by having an afternoon snack of yogurt or string cheese.
- Adding cream and sugar. Taub-Dix says that once you add a few teaspoons of sugar and a splash of cream, you're basically drinking a donut. The fix: Dress up your coffee with skim milk and sugar-free flavored syrups, like mint or vanilla. Try a lighter, milder American roast instead of the darker French, Viennese or Italian roast. Lighter roast coffees need less milk and sugar to cut the flavor and bitterness. To cut the bitterness even further, add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the filter when you make your next pot. The cinnamon will also help protect you from diabetes, and lower your cholesterol.