Coffee’s on!

Coffee’s on!

Coffee’s on!

By Mary Lou Block RDN LMNT

From the Boston Tea Party to the Americana cup of coffee of World War II, we are a coffee loving nation.  Case in point, my entire family thrives on it, and holiday time is no exception.  Does that resonate with you?  Then don’t forget to include coffee on your holiday menu, and in fact, here are reasons to include it:

  1. Coffee consumption is perfectly healthy for healthy people. Drinking up to 3 cups/day is not associated with an increase in long-term health risks in healthy people. (1) 
  2. Coffee consumption may help you avoid unwanted weight gain during the holidays. According to a 2018 study, there was a correlation between tea or coffee consumption and those who met physical activity goals. (2) And we know maintaining physical activity is important for weight control any time of the year.
  3. Coffee consumption may help you avoid holiday depression.  Ever had the holiday blues?  Coffee is not the total answer to depression, but coffee drinking could help prevent depression according to a review of 8 studies analyzing the effect of coffee and caffeine consumption on risk of depression.  For each cup of coffee consumed, depression risk decreased 8%.  If you are depressed this holiday season, make sure to include a coffee break with a friend! (3)
  4. Coffee consumption may even help you maintain a cleaner house during the holidays!  Do you have absent-minded family members who carry around, and then leave, coffee cups here and there?  Motivate them to pick up!  Inform them that excess coffee consumption (>6 cups/day ) increases the likelihood of dementia (the reason they must be littering used coffee cups!).  However, reassure them that reducing their intake of coffee to 1-2 cups/day is associated with a decreased risk of dementia, something that can be demonstrated by returning their empty coffee cups to the dishwasher! (4)

Admittedly, you will indulge in treats at holiday meals, but you can use coffee to reduce consumption of treats during the remainder of the season. Here are several ideas:

  • Don’t skimp on coffee quality.  Brew a rich coffee to ease the sting of skipping unwanted sugar treats.
  • Pair dark chocolate with coffee offerings.  Dark chocolate has its own health benefits and offers just enough sweet to help you say, “Bye-bye, marshmallow fudge!” The big trick to using coffee to reduce sweets is don’t use it as an excuse to eat more sugar!
  • If you are seriously avoiding sweets and limiting carbohydrate consumption, remember you can enjoy limited amounts of decadent keto coffee.  It’s not rocket science:  ¾ cup coffee, 1-2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream!  There are other keto coffee recipes available on-line.  Just remember, if you are enjoying extra fat in your coffee, you need to make sure you are low carb in the rest of your menu.  The reality is:  carb + fat = weight!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is how does coffee affect you and what is your limit?  

Never use coffee for hydration.  Always, always drink water first.

Don’t drink coffee after 3 pm.  It can interfere with sleep.  Something you can’t afford to go without during the holidays!

Just like everything else, there comes a point where you need to say, “No thank you, I have reached my holiday coffee limit!”

 

Photo credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/wooden-table-with-cup-coffee_974443.htm#query=coffee&position=3&from_view=search&track=sph">Image by mrsiraphol on Freepik 

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