I will always remember my first latte. It was at a waterfront coffee shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. For some inexplicable reason, I'd let over fifty years slip by before enjoying a cup of coffee. But after savoring just a few sips of this new and delectable concoction, I was in awe. Coffee wasn't just a beverage; it was an experience! I now look forward to coffee-time with the same anticipation I once had for happy hour — and I'm getting into far less trouble!
Coffee (like our equally delicious friend, chocolate) was once shunned as an unhealthy indulgence. But after years of research, the consensus is that moderate coffee consumption is actually good for your health:
Despite its awesomeness, coffee isn't perfect for everyone, especially those with a sensitivity to caffeine. And you'll be negating the benefits if you load your coffee with sugar. artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or creamers. But this doesn't mean it has to be boring. I make my latte with organic whole milk (preferably grass-fed), and sometimes sprinkle a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice on top - and it's delicious!
Although not everything we eat or drink has to be organic, coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops globally. Buying organic ensures your brew is free from herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides — which is kinder to farmers, the environment, and you! One final caution is to let your coffee cool a little before drinking. Some studies have shown a link between drinking extremely hot drinks and esophageal cancer.
Unfortunately, even the healthiest coffee isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Ironically, the same roasting process that makes coffee so delicious also causes a natural by-product named acrylamide, a known carcinogen. But don't let this freak you out. Coffee actually contains very little acrylamide, and you would have to drink an outlandish amount of coffee to come close to a dangerous level.
So now we know the scary part isn't so bad after all, let's get back to the warm and fuzzy feeling we get whenever we spy a coffee shop. There's something uniquely welcoming that draws us in. I wouldn't feel comfortable eating in a restaurant by myself, but I have no qualms being alone in a coffee shop. It feels like a home-away-from-home. And although we may only nod and smile at each other, I believe this comradeship is an acknowledgment of our mutual love for the coffee bean.
So, how did coffee change my life? At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned the similarity (for me) between "wine night" and "coffee time." At one point in my life, I was indulging in too much of the prior and hadn't discovered the pleasure of the latter (or latte - ha-ha). It was lovely to find the same camaraderie when I met friends for coffee, that we'd had at happy hour. And that's when coffee became more than just a beverage and turned into a lifestyle I'm loving — and it loves me back!
Harvard Health Publishing: Health benefits of coffee and a proposed warning label
Healthline: Instant Coffee: Good or Bad
Healthy eating is my passion, and I love to share what's worked for me.