On its own coffee is packed with health-giving antioxidants, but it’s rarely the health drink it could be thanks to the ways most people customize it (think: Starbuck’s GMO-laden Pumpkin Latte). The same is true for tea. Here are 7ways to make your coffee or tea a whole lot healthier:
Choose organic coffee or tea. Both crops tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides (sometimes ones that are banned in North America but legal in countries where these crops are grown) so you may be getting more than just coffee or tea when you select anything but organic.
Choose fair trade for a healthy conscience. Coffee is big business. According to the United Nations it is the second most widely traded commodity (after oil). As such its growth and harvesting is subjected to a wide variety of exploitive labor conditions, including child labor in some countries.
Skip the sugar. Or if you must have it, select a sweetener like organic coconut sugar which has fewer grams of sugar (3 grams) than white or brown sugar (4 grams). It doesn’t sound like a big difference but over time that means you’ll have cut your sugar consumption by 25 percent with almost no effort. Coconut sugar contains natural minerals like chromium that aid sugar metabolism in your body.
Pass on the flavor syrups. Most are made with high fructose corn syrup which has been linked to weight gain and obesity. They also contain artificial flavors and preservatives like potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate. Potassium sorbate has been shown in human studies to be both genotoxic and mutagenic. That means it damages the genetic material and can cause mutations linked to disease. Sodium benzoate converts to the carcinogen benzene in the body.
Discover the coffee extras that are linked to weight gain…Say sayonara to sugar-free syrups and artificial sweeteners. If you’re thinking that you’re safe because you only use sugar-free syrups and artificial sweeteners, think again. Not only do these syrups usually contain the above-mentioned preservatives, they also typically contain one of the following synthetic sweeteners: Splenda, Sweet’n Low, or AminoSweet. Contrary to what the manufacturer claims, Splenda (sucralose) was shown by Duke University scientists to increase body weight, be absorbed by fat cells, and reduce beneficial intestinal flora by 50 percent (which further contributes to weight gain and inflammatory illnesses). Sweet’n Low (saccharin) is a coal tar derivative that has been linked to breathing difficulties, headaches, skin eruptions, and diarrhea. AminoSweet (the new name for the aspartame) has been linked to an enormous list of health conditions, including: brain tumors, depression, headaches and migraines, joint pain, chronic fatigue, and more.
Skip the whip. Adding whipped cream to your coffee adds about 100 calories to each drink. That’s an extra 36,500 calories a year if you only drink one a day.
Pick milk alternatives over cow‘s milk. If you’re going to add milk to your coffee, it’s best to pick almond, rice, organic soy (other soy is genetically-modified) milk. Cow’s milk is not the health food the dairy bureaus would have us believe it is. Read my articles 11 Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy and Harvard Declares Dairy Not Part of a Healthy Diet.
Forego the coffee whitener. It is made from corn syrup solids (almost always genetically-modified) and trans fats. The companies are not required to report the trans fats because the serving size is small but it’s a lot of trans fats when you drink this stuff a few times a day, every day.