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I love my coffee! – benefits of java

By Staff | Apr 8, 2013

Wake up and smell theantioxidants?

If you think your morning cup of joe provides nothing more to your body than a jolt of caffeine, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your daily cup (or three!) provides some health benefits as well. According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, the healthiest perks of coffee include increased cognitive function, possible disease protection (not high enough to be a “good source”) and a carrier for milk – adding calcium, a mineral Americans are falling short on.

“It (may help reduce the risk of) heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease and maybe even Alzheimer’s disease,” Salge Blake says of the beverage once considered a vice. “It’s really kind of come full circle where we now know – in moderation – coffee can be a good thing.”

“I think the beauty of it is that people can go on enjoying their coffee,” says Salge Blake, who warns that not all coffees are created equal. While an 8-oz. cup of coffee offers some health benefits, coffee shop creations can be surprising high in sugar and fat. Salge Blake warns, “One of these designer coffee drinks can be adding a fair amount of calories to the diet.”

A better option? Try a skim milk latte, suggests Salge Blake. By ordering a latte, she says, “You can get as much as a cup of milk in your coffee. This is fabulous because most Americans are coming in at about half of the recommended daily servings a day.” Making your coffee a vehicle for fat-free milk is one way to ensure your daily calcium and Vitamin D needs are met. If your diet does not include dairy, a fortified soy beverage is a calcium-rich alternative.

Dr. Joy Dubost also advises spicing up your coffee with cinnamon or vanilla powder. Cinnamon in particular is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, making your coffee even more beneficial.

So how much java is too much? Both registered dieticians agree that around 3, 8-oz. cups a day is considered moderate coffee consumption. Dubost says pregnant and breastfeeding women will want to limit intake to a maximum of 300 mg. a day of caffeine (the amount in 2 to 3 cups of coffee); The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women cap caffeine consumption at 200 mg. a day.

For those avoiding caffeine, a cup of decaf coffee has about 4 mg. (as opposed to about 130 mg. in a cup of regular). “It’s still a good carrier for milk,” says Salge Blake of decaf.

Vanilla Iced Mochaccino

2 cups coffee

2 cups fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Brew 2 cups of “strong” coffee (French roast or espresso-style, preferably). Pour into small saucepan with fat-free milk, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract; simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes; pour over ice in two large lidded cups and shake well before serving. Or prepare it warm: after simmering ingredients, blend with a hand-held electric mixer to create a frothy top and carefully pour into coffee mugs.

Makes 2 servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 2 grams total fat, 20 grams carbohydrate and 30 percent of the daily value for calcium.

Cappuccino

1 c. hot coffee of choice

c. skim milk

Sweetened cocoa powder

Cinnamon

Place skim milk in glass jar and tightly apply lid. Shake until froth forms. Pour coffee in large mug and top with frothy milk. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and cinnamon.

This recipe makes 1 serving with 27 calories, no fat and 75 milligrams of calcium.

French Vanilla Coffee Mix

1/3 c. instant coffee

1 c. instant skim milk powder

c. powdered nondairy coffee creamer

1/3 c. white sugar

c. French vanilla instant pudding mix

Add the ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until thoroughly mixed and you have a smooth powder. Store mixture in an airtight, pint-size container. Decorate container as desired.

For each serving, place cup of boiling water in a mug and stir in 2 heaping teaspoons of mix.

Makes 16 servings. Per serving: 50 calories, 1 gram (g) fat, 2 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate and 65 mg sodium.

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