The air is getting cooler, the leaves are beginning to change, and you’re dreaming of flannel, leather boots, and a pumpkin spice latte.... Coffee has been in the spotlight lately touted as a leading health food. Several studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals have found a link between coffee and a reduced risk for a number of diseases including diabetes, alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, and cancer. As if you needed more reasons to drink coffee…
For most Americans, coffee is their number one source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidant packed micronutrients found in certain plant-based foods that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Many of coffee’s reported health benefits are directly linked to its high concentration of polyphenols.
Dr. Bob Arnot, author of The Coffee Lover’s Diet, tested popular supermarket and specialty coffee varieties to find which ones contained the highest levels of polyphenols. Dunkin Donuts Original Blend, Lavazza Kilimanjaro, Bulletproof and McCafe Decaf Medium Roast took the top four spots for supermarket brands. Dr. Danger Hard Core (Dr. Arnot’s own brand), Hacienda La Minta Kenya, Brio Ethiopia Adado and Barrington Coffee Hambela specialty coffee all measured several thousand units higher than the top supermarket brands.
Coffee + Weight Loss
The caffeine in coffee is known to help mobilize fats from the fat tissues and increase metabolism— it is also an effective appetite suppressant.
- Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, sending signals to fat cells telling them to break down fat.
- Caffeine increases Adrenaline levels which send signals to break down fats and release them from the fat tissues into the blood, making it available for the body to burn off.
- Caffeine can increase the resting metabolic rate by 3-11%, making it easier to lose— and maintain— weight.
Unfortunately, our bodies build a tolerance to caffeine, making the effects less pronounced over time. But the body can be weaned off caffeine quickly; it only takes 5 days to clean the receptor cells. After that, you can enjoy the benefits anew. Take a 5 day break from coffee every few weeks to prevent your tolerance from building up.
For long lasting weight loss results, you need a sustainable, long-term diet plan that uses coffee to curb cravings, boost exercise benefits, and enhance metabolism. Incorporate coffee into a balanced, fiber rich, plant-protein heavy diet by having a cup between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner, to stave off hunger and keep you feeling energized.
Choosing a Healthier Coffee
Those special seasonal drinks you love— like your pumpkin spice and eggnog lattes— pack a ton of excess calories and sugar. Adding cream, sugar, flavored creamers and syrups can quickly cancel out coffee’s benefits. A regular 16-ounce coffee has around 5 calories and 0 grams of sugar, while the sweetened version can contain more than 80 calories and 20 grams of sugar (that’s if you forego the whipped cream topping).
- Opt for honey or agave nectar (both low glycemic index) in place of that corn-syrup infused hazelnutty stuff.
- Skip the sweetener and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder.
- Missing your favored syrup? Add a ½ teaspoon of natural vanilla extract.
- Swap cream for unsweetened almond milk or soy milk.
- Canned coconut is low in sugar and high in fat, making you feel satiated for longer. Plus the fat holds onto the caffeine, giving you a time-released effect rather than the typical spike and crash. Add a spoonful of coconut oil for an extra boost. (This is the basic science behind the bulletproof coffee theory, which is an entire post in itself).
- Ask for extra foam— this airy topping will feel like an indulgence without extra calories.
- Cold brew has a richer flavor than hot coffee that’s been chilled and is less bitter which means you’ll need less sugar to cut the bite.
- Use coffee cubes (brew coffee, allow to cool, pour into ice trays) instead of regular ice cubes for a cold drink that tastes strong from start to finish.
- Pour-over coffee: use 2/3 of the hot water that you usually do, and replace the last 1/3 with ice. Voilà, Japanese iced coffee.
- Nitro coffee: the Guinness of all coffees, you won’t even miss the cream and sugar because the nitrogen produces a delightfully frothy effect. (Order Convergent Coffee Company’s Nitro cans at Terra’s Kitchen)
No time to brew in the morning? Coffee pot always burning the batch at the office? Order cold brew nitro coffees from Terra’s Kitchen. (You might have to hide them from your co-workers!)