Many believe that the act of indulging in a daily coffee habit is a vice; however, growing research suggests that this may be a total misconception. Several studies have shown that there are substantial benefits to moderate coffee consumption including reduced risk of stroke, depression, dementia and several cancers. This shouldn’t come as a total surprise since coffee is a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants. In fact, coffee is by far the greatest contributor of antioxidants to the American diet!
In addition to the above stated benefits, a new research report published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation Heart Failure, based on 5 different studies, found that regular coffee consumption appears to be protective against heart failure. In analyzing the diets of 140,000 men and women, the researchers concluded that those drinking on average 2 8oz American coffees per day experienced protective benefits against heart failure by up to 11%. Individuals drinking more than 4 to 5 cups per day however experienced increased risk.
The take away is that for a healthy diet, you don’t need to ditch the coffee; rather, focus on cutting back on alcohol, sugar and saturated fats. Keep in mind however, that while 1-2 cups of coffee can be a beneficial addition to diet, it quickly becomes unhealthy when you start adding the extras, like cream and sugar. For instance, two tablespoons of liquid Coffeemate adds 80 calories and 4g of fat. If you are not taking in less food calories to make up for it, an additional 160 calories per day can add up to an extra 16lbs of body weight per year!
Furthermore, fancy coffee drinks, like those sold at Starbucks, should not be categorized as a cup of coffee, but rather as a dessert. That is what happens when you add whipped cream, chocolate, and simple syrup to anything. If you occasionally like to treat yourself during these hot summer months to a Starbucks Frappuccino, try making your own at home. You will reduce the calorie content (16oz Mochaccino = 400 calories) and also save $5. This tasty and low calorie Mochaccino recipe hits the spot and contains a much more manageable 127 calories:
- ½ cup very strong coffee
- ½ cup skim milk
- 1 tablespoon natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ice cube
Freeze coffee in an ice cube tray and then blend frozen coffee with the remaining ingredients.
Assistance provided by Allison van Camp