If you're a working adult, the odds are decent that you've made a hot cup of coffee part of your daily routine.
Hey, we can't blame you. There's nothing quite so refreshing and rejuvenating in the morning as a quick and flavorful caffeine burst.
With that said, though, it's important to recognize that this daily drink might be a bit more detrimental to your heart health than you may realize at first glance.
Coffee is a stimulant that can elevate your heart rate and cause unnecessary dehydration. And if you add cream and sugar, they add fat and calories to your diet. In fact, Mayo Clinic reports that some coffee drinks contain as many as 500 calories.
If you're looking to boost your overall health without letting go of a warm beverage or two every morning, consider these suggestions for modifying or replacing your coffee to help optimize your heart health.
Consider what you're adding in
For many people, the problem with coffee as it relates to heart health isn't so much the coffee at all. There was certainly a time when drinking your coffee black was in style; that era seems to have passed by for many caffeine enthusiasts. Now, it's not uncommon at all to see someone stirring enough sugar into their drink to make it qualify as a candy bar.
If this sounds like you, take the time to realize that what you're doing isn't harmless. The added sugar you put into your drink could be detrimental to your body and may also cause an even further elevated heart rate than the coffee alone would have.
Creamers and flavoring agents have their drawbacks too—they are often loaded with saturated fat and calories. Rather than going cold turkey and removing sugar right away, try cutting back a little more every day until you've lowered your sugar dose to a healthier level.
One of the most proactive steps you can take to optimize your consumption of coffee is simply to limit how often you indulge in it. Considering the caffeine content of coffee specifically, it may be best for you to set a time in the early afternoon after which you simply don't have any more coffee. While the urge to have a cup after dinner or when you get home from work may be strong, try going a few days without any after 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. and see what happens. In no time you should be better hydrated and sleeping more soundly through the night.
The healthiest thing heavy coffee drinkers can do may be to break the habit. For those trying to consume less coffee, Authority Nutrition recommends making the switch to tea, which can provide a boost in mood and energy while filling your body with less caffeine overall.
Energy drinks and sodas contain more sugar or caffeine than coffee, but other coffee alternatives worth considering include green tea, low-cal fruit juice, and, for those who don’t want to give up the coffee flavor, decaf coffee.