A morning cup of coffee can be a great thing. Coffee consumption has been linked to longer life, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and it’s also a wonderful source of antioxidants, But all these health benefits can be canceled out if you’re loading your latte with tons of cream, sugar, and chemical-filled syrups.
According to leading neurologists and toxicologists, caffeine is believed to affect areas of the brain responsible for concentration and memory. And so as a direct consequence, caffeine provides a boost to the short-term memory as well as an individual’s concentration acuity. However, it is worth noting that it is not exactly clear how long the boosting lasts. Better yet, it is not clear how it may vary from one person to another.
If you are already a coffee drinker, it should be reassuring that after decades of research, no strong link can be found between coffee intake and cancer and, to the contrary, a number of health benefits seem to accompany coffee consumption. But, I’m not sure the evidence is powerful enough to recommend an increase in your daily habit. One reason is that we don’t know for sure that coffee consumption actually caused the health benefits observed in these studies. Some other, unmeasured factor could be responsible. Another reason is that the overall effect was small. And, it’s worth noting that some people are quite sensitive to the side effects of coffee.
If you can’t go completely black with your coffee, try adding a small amount of stevia. While not 100% perfect, this choice is certainly better than consuming the artificial sweeteners and refined sugar which are usually found in most cups. Coconut sugar or organic maple syrup can also be used, but the real key here is adding a very small amount. Don’t go overboard!
Alternatively, opt for “milks” and creamers made from almond, coconut, cashew, and other plant sources. They can be much lower in calories than traditional creamers; and they're often produced with all-natural ingredients (read: no high-fructose corn syrup) and provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. If you prefer a flavored or sweetened version, check the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts panel. Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.
If Starbucks is your favorite coffee house, then you’ve likely seen the cinnamon on the milk counter when you go to top off your brew. Next time, take advantage and give your health a boost. Swinney says that cinnamon can make your beverage even better for you, thanks to its antioxidant properties, not to mention a slew of other benefits. “Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar in many clinical studies. Adding spices add antioxidants and sweetness without calories, helping to cut back on the sugar you might add to coffee. Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” she explains. Check out 10 weird facts about coffee you never knew.
It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.