It’s estimated that 62 percent of Americans are now drinking coffee every day. People argue back and forth about whether or not it’s better to add milk and sugar to it, which spices to use and even how to brew it.
There’s evidence suggesting that coffee has multiple health benefits for the brain, liver and metabolism. It can lower your risk of developing lung cancer and improve your memory. Coffee also has antioxidant and antiradical activity, which means that it can help remove possibly damaging oxidizing agents and work against free radicals. Free radicals can build up inside your cells and lead to damage to your DNA. So what’s the healthiest way to drink your coffee to fully absorb all of these benefits?
First of all, it’s important that you’re not having too much caffeine every day. The recommended maximum amount per day is 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. This comes out to about four cups of brewed coffee, and an espresso shot can have 29 mg to 100 mg of caffeine. Cold brew will have about 200 mg of caffeine in a 16-ounce serving. Healthline has an interesting article about the amount of caffeine different drinks have and the factors that influence caffeine amounts.
If you have too much caffeine in a short period of time, you could experience headaches, insomnia, nervousness and faster heartbeats. The long-term effects include chronic insomnia, stomach problems, high blood pressure, constant anxiety and depression. It’s also not recommended for pregnant people to have more than 300 mg of caffeine a day, because it may be linked to miscarriages and low-birth-weight babies. Abstaining from coffee after 2 p.m. could also help keep coffee from interfering with your sleep (It’s worth noting, though, that some people can have a coffee right before they go to bed and not have it interfere with their sleep at all.). Also make sure that you’re not drinking very hot coffee, which could give you thermal burns in your esophagus. It’s important to make sure that you’re staying at or below the recommended amounts to get all the benefits of coffee without the side effects.
Generally, most specialists and doctors would agree that the absolute best way to drink coffee is to have it black, with no added cream or sugar. Adding too much sugar might eliminate its health benefits. It’s also recommended to add cinnamon or cocoa to your coffee for flavor and additional health benefits. Cinnamon could lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in people with diabetes. Cocoa is another thing that’s loaded with antioxidants and could decrease the risk of heart disease.
You can also easily add some whole milk or plant-based milk. This can cool the coffee down and make it more palatable. While previously it was thought that adding milk could hinder the absorption of antioxidants, researchers in Denmark have found that certain antioxidants in coffee bind with certain milk proteins, and this could increase its anti-inflammatory properties. A separate study was done that also confirms this. The people who ran the study also recommend adding dairy to other foods to aid the absorption of anti-inflammatories. However, further research would need to be done to absolutely confirm this, as conflicting results have been found in the past.