Crafting a Healthy Coffee

If you’re using coffee to solve other problems, such as lack of sleep, you’re missing the benefits

It’s rich in antioxidants, water, and is associated with improved cognitive function, lower risk for neurodegenerative diseases, better mood, and anti-inflammatory effects. But is coffee healthy?

It depends on who you are and what your overall lifestyle looks like. As with any other food, the benefits of coffee are purely contextual. In some cases, it can contribute to some desirable outcomes. In other cases, it’s futile. Sometimes, it can be detrimental.

So, how do you craft a perfect cup of healthy coffee? Doing things such as exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help. Those lifestyle choices can enhance coffee’s effects and make it more useful in providing its gifts.

Not “needing a coffee” can also help ensure you’re setting coffee up to do your mind and body good. If you can’t focus or stay awake without it, your body is trying to tell you something. Drinking coffee to mask poor sleep habits, brain fog, or depression will likely mean you’re not getting its best benefits. While you might get the charge from the caffeine, the lack of sleep or other issues that you’re having are likely snuffing out coffee’s benefits for brain health and inflammation.

Not adding a ton of stuff to your coffee also can help you get a step closer to the perfect cup. Sugars, heavy cream, and flavors can all reduce the health quality of your coffee by adding plenty of empty calories. That can contribute to weight gain, inflammation, high blood sugar, and metabolic problems.

Lastly, knowing how coffee affects you—how you metabolize caffeine—determines your perfect cup. If it makes you jittery and anxious, drink less or switch to a dark roast. If you can’t drink it in the afternoon because it will impair sleep, don’t have it. Coffee is beneficial if it works with your lifestyle.

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