I love coffee. If you’re anything like me, it’s the promise of a fresh cup in the morning that actually helps me get out of bed every day. And you’ll be surprised at all the key benefits of coffee in just a single cup.
Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., author of The Small Change Diet, says there’s a growing body of research showing coffee might have more pros than simply helping us stay awake. Here are some of the best reasons to drink up:
Coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Coffee can lower your risk of heart disease and heart rhythm issues.
Coffee can lower the risk of stroke, especially in women.
Coffee may keep your memory sharp, helping prevent and protect against Alzheimer’s.
Coffee can also help lower your risk of Parkinson’s.
Coffee has been shown to lower risk of cancer, especially those of the liver.
Coffee can actually help you stay hydrated. (It’s not a diuretic, Gans says, as some suggest.)
Now, before you jump for joy, realize that none of this is set in stone. “There’s a lot of research out there that suggests these benefits, not proves them,” says Gans. (Scientific studies rarely provide such conclusive evidence.) But that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent option, especially to start your day. Here, Gans advises on how best to drink up:
Keep it under 100
You shouldn’t drink your calories. That said, Gans says you’re probably fine if you like a little whole milk or a couple sugars. “I think coffee is best enjoyed black,” she says. “However, try to keep it under 100 calories for the day.” Whether that’s in one cup, or spaced out over two or three, it’s up to you. You can get skinny and light frappuccinos and lattes at this benchmark.
Your morning coffee is not a sweet treat
Coffee does not mean PSLs or Venti White Chocolate Mochas. If you overload on the sugar, additives and syrups, you will negate the benefits. “I tell my clients to remember they’re drinking a cup of joe, not dessert.”
Remember your caffeine intake
Gans says some might be more susceptible than others to the caffeine in coffee, causing jitters, insomnia, irritability, and even reflux — and no one wants that. If you’re seeing these symptoms, cut back your intake, switch to decaf or make sure to stop drinking coffee before 2 p.m. “Remember, more isn’t necessarily better here,” says Gans. Since much of the research on coffee simply looks at the difference between drinkers and non-drinkers, you can still grab the benefits with just one serving in the morning.
Since September 29 is National Coffee Day, check out coupon codes for these popular coffeehouses, restaurants, and coffee brands, then grab yourself a treat: