Practically everybody drinks a cup (or more) in a day….

But most of us don’t think of coffee as a “health drink.”  Well, it isn’t healthy when you add tons of sugar, artificial sweeteners and artificial creamers to a cup of Joe!

But, you CAN have a healthy cup of coffee and I’m going to show you how!

First, there has been debate about whether or not brewed coffee can have negative health effects due to compounds such as tar or other possibly inflammatory compounds. You don’t have to worry because coffee contains such high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants, chlorogenic acids, phenolic nutrients and other healthy compounds that it counteracts and supercedes any bad compounds.

In fact, coffee is one of the biggest sources of antioxidants for many Americans. Because we often don’t get enough fruit and vegetables, the antioxidants from coffee ends up being our biggest source. We should try to diversify our source of antioxidants from more fruits, veggies, spices, berries, beans, unsweetened organic coca and tea – but don’t forget your coffee!

So, what’s the best trick for making a HEALTHY cup of coffee?  Actually, I have 3 tricks to maximize the benefits of coffee!

Tip #1:  AVOID adding any refined sugar or harmful artificial sweeteners

Instead, sweeten your coffee with a small amount of organic maple syrup or the natural plant based sweetener stevia.  However, the healthiest cup of coffee is a black cup of coffee, without any sweetener.

Be careful if you are getting your coffee from a coffee shop.  Specialty coffees such as sweetened flavored lattes and frappuccinos  are loaded with with extra sugars or artificial sweeteners, with up to 300-400 calories in just one cup. These fancy coffee drinks – like those you find at Starbucks – are not good for your blood sugar, insulin levels or your body!

If you are a “social coffee drinker,” order a latte or cappuccino, but make sure to ask for it unsweetened and used your own stevia to sweeten to taste.

Tip #2: AVOID artificial creamers

Artificial creamers, whether they are liquid or powder, are usually made with corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils (harmful trans fats) and are crappy for your body. Just like avoiding artificial sweeteners, avoid artificial creamers like the plague and treat yourself with REAL full-fat cream.  The organic grass-fed full-fat cream (try saying that 5x out loud real fast) is very healthy for you.

To take it up a notch, try coconut milk as a healthier creamer alternative. Cans of coconut milk are much creamier than artificial creamers used for coffee and are better than cartons labeled “coconut milk drink,” which are just watered down coconut milk.

The natural coconut milk is a thick and creamy option as a healthy coffee creamer. It is loaded with super healthy saturated fats, known to boost your immune system and your metabolism with medium chain tryglycerides (MCTs).  Plus, coconut milk in a cup of coffee is just plain delicious!

When people visit my house and we make a pot of coffee, I’ll have them try the coconut milk/cream in their coffee and almost everyone always comments how much they love it! It’s the best healthy creamer option by far.

Tip #3: Add cinnamon

If you want to load your coffee up with even more healthy antioxidants, then add some cinnamon to your coffee (cinnamon can help control blood sugar as well as many other health benefits).  It’s also really tasty in coffee!

For additional great taste and antioxidant power in your cup of coffee, I add a teaspoon of organic cocoa powder (non-sweetened, known for helping to lower blood pressure! ) to make my personal coffee-shop mocha (but without the loads of sugar).

I’m sensitive to caffeine, so I only drink 3-4 times per week and avoid addiction. Those that drink 3-4 cups of coffee per day are probably addicted to caffeine and get withdrawal headaches.  I also drink various teas like green, oolong, black, and white teas most other days, which are much lower in caffeine.

But despite the caffeine content in coffee, there is loads of data that show the high antioxidant levels and health benefits to coffee, especially if you forgo the sugar, artificial sweeteners and artificial creamers.  If you love coffee, feel free to share this article below with your coffee-loving friends and family.

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by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Author of best-seller:  The Truth About Six Pack Abs