People all over the world drink 400 million cups of coffee every day. And almost every day, someone is inventing a new way to order coffee. Everyone has their own way of customizing their cup of joe—sugar, no sugar, what kind of sugar, sugar syrup versus granulated sugar (and that’s just sugar)—down to the ounce. But what happens when you mix it up?
A Change in Your Coffee Order Could Mean Better Health
With so many options for building the perfect cup, it’s inevitable that some are better for your health than others. Flavored syrups can be highly processed during manufacturing and often rely on artificial sweeteners to provide that zing. If you’re set on a sweetener, ask if the shop has pure cane sugar available; better yet, consider a host of more natural, possibly organic options: maple syrup, honey, agave nectar and even molasses are all healthy alternatives—barely a step removed from the original source plant. And, since sugar of any stripe doesn’t really provide much nutritional value in terms of vitamins or minerals (although molasses is quite high in iron and calcium), you’re better using less if you can.
The Dairy Factor
For years, Americans have been told the real culprit behind our national obesity problem is fat—eating fat makes us fat. But this is only a small part of the story. The truth is, the body needs fat—not a lot, but some—and the better quality fat, the better you feel.
A surfeit of calories is actually a much bigger factor, and that’s the part that’s rarely demystified. Your body actually converts other kinds of calories—such as certain carbohydrates like the fructose sugar found in most processed foods—into fat, and these calories may be more responsible for your level of body fat than fat alone. Considering the quality of your calories goes a long way toward making you healthier, cream (particularly organic cream) is a good source of high quality calories.
So what does this mean? A few things… all of which are delicious. Your stomach is craving the nutrients, fat and flavor that a rich dairy option would provide—you would need to drink, say, a cup of skim milk to capture the same amount of flavor as a tablespoon of cream. And cream is much less processed than skim milk—it’s right there in the farmer’s pail at milking time. Many people have been told for years that cream is a “bad” food, but the truth is, it is highly unprocessed, and in fact, can be very “good” for you, in moderation!
Another option is a latte, made with whole milk or skim milk. Since a latte is made with steamed milk—using a much greater quantity of dairy than if you were simply putting cream in your coffee, it provides a great source of protein, and can be a healthy and filing way to start your day.
Mix It Up
Have you ever wondered what all of those exotic sounding coffee names are on the menu at your local shop? Your baristas would probably love to tell you. Or—if they seem harried and hassled, get out of your daily rut and just order something new. It’s a low-risk way to step out of your comfort zone and mix up your routine. Some people have a daily goal of trying something new (not necessarily food-related!) each and every day, which is quite a feat. This is a small way to start that challenge. You never know where it might take you.
You might consider making room for cream—it could possibly change your life!