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Coffee: A Healthy Brew?

Coffee is a hot topic among health experts and java drinkers alike. Proponents of the brew claim it’s heart-healthy because coffee beans have antioxidants, can lower your risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and help with headaches (along with a slew of other random health benefits being touted online). But others argue that it messes with hormonal levels, increases cortisol levels (the “stress hormone” that can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes), can worsen insomnia, and let’s not forget how addictive it is!

Whatever your thoughts on coffee are, no one can argue that too much of it is a good thing. In general, I recommend keeping to one cup a day or less. One surprising fact is that espresso is arguably better for you than drip coffee! For one thing, a shot of espresso contains less caffeine than an 8 oz cup of drip coffee (and in my opinion, it tastes a lot better, too!). A 2 ounce shot of espresso has 50 mg of caffeine, while an 8 ounce cup contains 135 mg – almost 3 times as much. Another health benefit over drip coffee is that a shot of espresso still contains some of the natural oils found on the bean. Since espresso is made using a quick-extraction method, it still retains a lot of oils that get broken down during the drip method. That means that it’s less acidic to your body and more easily digested.

If you’re looking to decrease your caffeine consumption, try switching to espresso and keeping it to one shot a day. And don’t forget that milk and sweeteners can bring your cup of joe down a notch in healthiness, too. Stick to organic milk or organic dairy-free options (such as almond or soy milk) and use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave, and honey in place of cane sugar.