Healthy Coffee? 5 Tips to Improve That Cup of Joe

When working with patients on improving their health the issue of coffee consumption often comes up. After all, I practice in The San Francisco Bay area, home to some of the most delicious coffee roasters.

Coffee can tax the adrenals, disrupt blood sugar, deplete nutrients and stress your digestive and cardiovascular system. Coffee or rather, caffeine, can prove to be a true obstacle to health, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips to keep your coffee and keep it healthy.

1. Organic Only
These days there are a lot of options for organic coffee. Go with organic to avoid pesticides that are used in most commercial coffees. If you can find fair trade, even better. Also avoid flavored coffee as it is full of artificial flavoring.

2. Grind it at Home
There are healthy molecules found in coffee, but they are best when fresh. Buying a whole bean and grinding it at home gives you the freshest coffee, which means more antioxidants and better flavor. No complaints about that one.

3. Cut the Sugar Out
Sugar adds calories and leads to inflammation in the body. Some coffee beverages have so much sugar that they contain just as many calories as a single meal. Yikes! Try using cream, whole milk or even coconut milk. All of them have a bit of sweetness, which can help with the transition. Avoid artificial creamers and anything flavored.

4. Make One the Limit
Yes, I know that an afternoon cup, shot or even affogato is devine. But if you've already had your morning cup, try your best to avoid the temptation. If you are struggling with afternoon energy, it may be time for more sleep at night or a trip to the doctor. The more caffeine in your day, the greater the stress response of your body. If you are already drinking several cups a day, start to slowly reduce your intake. It's not the kind of thing that is effective or even best done all at once.

5. Make Breakfast a Priority 
Have a bit of food before that morning cup. Your stomach will thank you and you will experience less fluctuations in your blood sugar. This can help you not only have more energy throughout the day, but may also help reduce sugar cravings. Try adding a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee for additional help with blood sugar control.

And if you are going to drink coffee, by all means, ENJOY IT!

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.