Keep your coffee’s health benefits by using natural flavors and sweeteners which add even more great benefits to the drink.
Coffee is consumed the world over, mainly for the enlightened kick we get from the caffeine but also for its intense and complex flavors. It’s the warm flavorful wake up call in the morning that starts our day, the mid morning coffee break that calms and recharges our drive for the day. Business meetings held over coffee for morning/lunch/evenings, it’s all good. Coffee houses are now social hubs, places to get together for lunch, before and after an evening out, a safe place to meet your date, school work, business work you name it, its done there.
Old myths are being debunked about the negative effects of coffee with recent studies touting the high anti oxidant qualities that are very beneficial to our health and lessening the risks for many conditions and diseases. For those of us that are sensitive to the caffeine (like me). Yes, it will still keep you up late at night if you drink too much or too late in the day, and it still doesn’t help if you are hypertensive either.
These subjects have been all over the web lately as I am sure you have seen, just Google “Health Benefits of coffee” and it will keep you reading for days. But what I want to talk about is how so many of us take a perfectly good cup of coffee and ruin all those healthy benefits by loading it up with sugar, chemicals, fat and how to avoid doing that just so you can enjoy your drink.
First, and absolute must. Find a Quality Coffee Roaster that knows what they are doing and guarantees you Fresh coffee. Many store brands are mass produced months ago and with the cheapest beans, leaving you with stale bitter coffee and with the popularity of Micro Roasting everybody and their uncle is now roasting coffee, many without taking the time to learn the craft. Coffee roasting is a fine art, it takes quality beans (usually Arabica) and knowledge to roast those beans to a perfect balance. That means removing most of the acidity and balancing it with just enough bitterness to make a rich, bold, full bodied brew that tastes so great you can drink it black. THEN if you want to add some subtle flavors or sweeteners to enhance it, you can do that WITHOUT having to overload it with immense amounts of calories and fat just to make it palatable. This is a trend that started years ago and now we are just so used to getting that Caramel Mocha that we are not only addicted but we don’t even remember what black coffee tastes like.
For perfectly roasted coffee delivered Fresh to your door go to http://www.odacremcoffee.com/
Second, Go Natural!!!!! And I know from experience this is not easy, if you are one of those that have been drinking the loaded choc caramel mint mocha frappicino that are pushing 460 calories and 20 grams of fat, its going to feel like you’re going through withdrawals giving up all that crap, but do your body a favor and go for it.
**Please note I am not a health and nutrition expert, I am just an average person trying to make healthier choises in my life and want to share what I have learned. YOU must decide for yourself if you wish to try anything I have mentioned here.**
If you can, just drink your coffee black, it only has about 5 calories per cup and no fat.
IF you must add flavor, use natural flavors NOT the syrups and flavored creamers, even many of the no calorie syrups and sweeteners are proving in many ways to be bad for your health.
*If you have started with great, fresh coffee the amount of flavoring you need to add to please your taste buds will be far less than retail drinks.*
Creamers: Cut the calories by using non fat milk instead of whole milk or Half n Half, stay away from the powdered creamers and the popular flavored creamers.
I am going to list off several natural sweeteners and flavors along with some health benefits of each along with some links of great recipes for you to try.
SWEETENERS: Natural is best and the less chemical processing used in production the better.
Pure Raw Honey, an amazingly overlooked sweetener packed with so many beneficial antioxidants and nutrients it should be a part of our everyday diet. Learn more about honey here http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/health-benefits-of-honey.html
Raw Unrefined Sugar: Is the best choice if you are going to use sugar. It contains minerals and nutrients that are removed from refined white sugar, regular brown sugar as well as many of the newer products on the market like Agave and others, Remember IN MANY CASES ITS NOT THE PRODUCT BUT, THE WAY IT IS PROCESSED THAT IS HARMFUL. Raw unrefined sugar contains about 11 calories per teaspoon and has the same vitamin and mineral content that is found in the juice from the sugarcane plant. These minerals include Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. In addition, when sugar is refined and processed there are many harmful ingredients that are added to the sugar as a result. Unrefined raw sugar does not have these harmful chemicals. Some of these include: Phosphoric Acid, Sulfur Dioxide, and Formic Acid. Read more here http://www.naturalorganiclifestyle.com/unrefined-raw-sugar.html
Agave and Stevia? My jury is still out on both of these, both are relatively new in the commercial market. There are health claims being made both for and against both of these. With Stevia being banned in Europe, so for me personally I will wait for more info before I recommend either. For more information on Natural sweeteners see here http://evolvingwellness.com/posts/1096/sugar-wars-are-any-natural-sweeteners-healthy-for-us/
Peppermint: Great tasting, only a few drops of mint oil needed to flavor and with added health benefits of: Helps to prevent muscle spasms (effective for IBS) and helps to relieve headaches, and heartburn. ttp://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_073107.htm
Ginger: Just a tiny pinch needed. A spicy root known to sooth the stomach, helping with nausea, it is also a natural aspirin and anti-inflammatory. Read more on ginger here http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-ginger.html
Vanilla Extract: Contains high levels of anti-oxidants, helps to relieve anxiety and much more http://www.livestrong.com/article/298410-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-vanilla-extract/
Cinnamon: A great flavoring for coffee. Has a long list of benefits like lowering bad cholesterol, lowers blood sugar levels, antifungal, and relieves headaches. Learn more here http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html
Cocoa: Great for flavoring and for you health you get decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health and improved cholesterol and much more http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20110323/cocoa-rich-in-health-benefits
Nutmeg: Very strong just a tiny pinch to flavor. A great companion for coffee as it stimulates the brain, helps relieve fatigue and stress as well as anxiety and depression. It also touts pain relief, indigestion relief, bad breath treatment, liver detox and sleep aid. http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/7-health-benefits-nutmeg-provides.html#b
Allspice: Strong and spicy with an enticing aroma it is also known for its anti inflammatory, warm soothing, and anti-flatulent properties as well as being enriched with minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/allspice.html
Cardamom: A favorite spice for many and used to flavor coffee for centuries. It has Limonene in it which boost antioxidant activity ( which coffee is full of ). Cardamom is shown to protect against cancer, lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots and have diuretic properties. http://www.livestrong.com/article/338907-health-benefits-of-cardamom/
Maple, Almond, Hazlenut and there are so many more, just check the baking isle in the grocery store or better yet Organic store to find your favorite flavors and give them a try for a healthy alternative way to flavor your coffee.
TIPS: One way to flavor your coffee is to use whole spices and to grind them either while grinding your coffee beans OR in a separate grinder as each spice will leave oils in the grinder to mix with the next grind. Add the spices to your grinds when brewing to extract the most flavors from them.
You can add flavor to your coffee after you’ve brewed it by stirring a flavoring or spice into the brewed coffee. You can also opt for more natural methods by stirring drops of spice extract into your coffee, or adding spices to the cup with your sugar and cream. One completely natural way to flavor your coffee is with flavored sugar you make yourself. It’s as easy as infusing coffee beans.
For vanilla sugar: Place two vanilla bean pods into an 8 ounce jar. Pour sugar to within an inch of the top. Cover and shake. Allow the sugar to absorb flavor from the vanilla beans for at least a day before using. Shake the jar over a few times daily to mix well and prevent the flavors from concentrating in one area.
For cinnamon spice sugar: Love cinnamon in your coffee, but not the skin that forms when you use it ground? Try this: put a few sticks of cinnamon into an 8 ounce jar. Add other whole spices if you desire – whole cardamom, star anise, cloves and nutmeg all are good spices for spicing sugar. For nutmeg, use a grater to score the outer rind and release the oil before adding. Proceed as you do for vanilla sugar above.
Experiment with different spice combination to find flavors that you like – and keep in mind that different spices will taste completely different when you use them with various types and roasts of coffee.
Check out some great recipes like Sweet Home Comfort, Summer Citrus Café Cooler and Cocoa Mint Melody here by Chris Arnold http://www.ineedcoffee.com/07/flavored-coffee/
Do your body a favor and KEEP your coffee healthy.
Save you money
Save you the extra pounds by cutting out most of the calories and fat
Save your body from all the harmful chemicals used in processing and or making the flavors and mixes.
AND BEST YET IT WILL:
Not only keep your coffee’s health benefits but by using natural flavors and sweeteners it adds even more great benefits to the drink.