Posts Tagged ‘HealthWise Coffee’

Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Melanoma Risk

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

A new study published recently in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute) showed that people who drank four or more cups of coffee daily were 20% less likely to develop malignant melanoma than non-coffee drinkers. Malignant melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer death in the United States.

The study found that there were 55.9 cases of melanoma yearly per 100,000 people among those participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day, vs. 77.6 cases per 100,000 non-coffee drinkers. The findings apply specifically to caffeinated coffee, not decaf, which could be significant or due to chance.

Of course, the best way to prevent skin cancer remains avoiding sun exposure and ultraviolet radiation, said a fellow at the institute. She does mention that this and other studies should provide reassurance that drinking coffee is not a risky thing to do.

Spicing Up Your Coffee

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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How do you drink your coffee? Flavored? Black? Do you add sweeteners or creamers? Black coffee is known to be the most healthful variation, but there are natural ways to add flavor and change up your daily cup of joe without adding sugar and calories. Try making these cold, dark winter mornings a little easier by trying these spices in your coffee:

Cinnamon: Spoon ground cinnamon directly into your cup, or add a stick of cinnamon bark to the coffee filter while brewing. Or, if you drink tea, simmer some bark in the water you’ll use.

Cardamom: Traditionally used in Turkish coffee preparation, cardamom adds a rich and floral flavor. Stir ground cardamom directly into your prepped coffee, or crush the pods and add to the coffee maker. Other great spices to use are nutmeg or cloves.

Maple Syrup: While maple syrup is usually available in syrup form, some places sell maple sugar, which has the same flavor. Stir a little into your coffee to sweeten it - it’s especially good mixed with milk.

Chai spices: True masala chai is made from fresh ginger root, green cardamom pods, and star anise. It’s not like those super-sweet chai lattes, and has a real kick. Boil the spices with water, and add black tea leaves and milk.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is very healthy and adds a pleasant nutty flavor to a hot drink. Keep a spoon in your cup to give it a stir before you sip, so you don’t get a mouthful of melted oil every time.

Cocoa: Give your coffee a mocha flavor with a spoonful of cocoa powder, and get a load of healthy polyphenols at the same time. Some cocoa powders can be bitter. To be more decadent, try adding a square of dark chocolate to the bottom of your mug to mix as it melts.

New Years Resolutions You Can Keep

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

-          Increase your incidental exercise. Incidental exercises are the movements you perform in your everyday life - this could be climbing up stairs, walking to work, or chasing after kids. Many experts agree that these everyday movements are key to keeping off extra pounds. If you want to increase your incidental exercise, try getting off the bus a few stops early and walking the rest of the way, or walking over to a coworker rather than emailing. If you sit for your job, try not to sit more than 30 minutes at a time.

-          Give your refrigerator a makeover. One of the simplest ways to improve your diet is to not bring junk foods into the house. Kick off 2015 by throwing out the unhealthy and replacing it with food that is good fuel for your body. One tip is to chop fruits and veggies into bite sized portions and store them, so whenever you need a snack they’re ready instead of a bag of chips. Also, avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry as you’ll be more likely to buy unhealthy foods or impulse buys.

-          Change your coffee order. If you’re not already drinking your coffee black, that is an easy way to shave off significant calories. Creamers can be full of added sugar and fat, and over time these calories add up. Switch to skim milk or try it all-natural!

-          Sign up for a fitness goal or event. Organized events can be a great motivator - the training will improve your fitness levels, and you’ll boost your self-esteem when you achieve your goals. Having something on the calendar will help you to work out even when you don’t want to. Try signing up with family or friends so you can encourage one another.

-          Give your body a check-up. You may take your car in for service and your pets to the vet, but don’t forget to get a checkup yourself. Have some blood tests to ensure you aren’t deficient in anything, and catch conditions before they become serious. Maybe make a dentist appointment while you’re at it too, and start the year off with a clean bill of health.

Easy Ways to be Healthy in the New Year

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

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With the Christmas holiday season behind us, many are looking to improve their health habits after a few weeks of parties, treats, and lounging around. Below are some tips for getting back on track this January:

1. Stick to a Routine

Whether it’s what you eat, when you exercise, or how much you sleep, sticking to a routine helps maximize alertness and health. Try eating at the same times, drinking coffee at the same times, and sleeping and waking on a regular schedule.

2. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals might seem like an easy way to cut calories and lose weight, but can do more damage than good. This disrupts the regularity of your digestive system and drain energy. Then, when you do eat, you may end up eating more than you would have normally. Try to minimize snacking instead, which can be a big contributor to excess calories.

3. Use Breaks to Exercise

Busy schedules can make it hard to fit in a workout before or after work. To burn some extra calories and gain some additional energy, try going for a jog or a few walks around the block during lunch breaks. Exercise helps prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more, and releases endorphins to improve your mood.

4. Replace Foods with Vegetables

If you have a big appetite, try replacing foods you would normally eat with lots of vegetables. Compared to other foods, they are loaded with fiber and micronutrients, and have less fat and sugar. Because of the fiber and volume of vegetables, they’ll fill you up before you eat other less healthy foods.

5. Stay Busy

Many people think about food when they have down time or are bored. Try staying busy and making plans!

10 Unexpected Uses for Coffee

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Did you know coffee has a life outside of being a tasty, healthy beverage? It can be used for a variety of other purposes as well. Below are 11 unusual uses for coffee!

1. Palate Cleanser

Perfume counters at department stores sometimes have a small dish of coffee beans nearby to cleanse your olfactory palate. When testing out powerful aromatics it can be hard to discern one scent from another. The strong odor of coffee beans can cleanse your olfactory palate and allow you to smell the next scent better.

2. Pet Repellant

If neighborhood pets are hanging around your flowers, sprinkling coffee can keep these pets away. Most animals have a much greater sense of smell than ours, and coffee that smells great to us may be very unpleasant to animals. Mix the grounds with orange peels for an inexpensive deterrent.

3. Aromatic/ Fridge Deodorizer

You can easily make your own coffee air freshener by filling a pair of doubled-up ladies’ stockings with coffee beans, then tying it. Leave one of your coffee bean sachets in the fridge to absorb refrigerator odors and food prep smells, like onions or other strong smelling food.

4. In the Garden

Coffee grounds can be used as compost or fertilizer. Used grounds mixed with lye make a great composting agent, and you can even throw in the filter. Worms like to eat the bacteria that grows on the grounds and it helps them to digest better. Small amounts of grounds can be added directly to topsoil, especially to plants that like acidic soil like azaleas or roses. Since coffee is high in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals, slowly releasing them into the plants. Make sure to be aware of which plants like acidic soil and which do not.  Finally, coffee has a strong odor which many insects and animals do not like. It has been suggested that mosquitoes, ants, and maggots all dislike the acidity of coffee and tend to stay away.

5. Meat Rub

We all know coffee is great for breakfast, but what about dinner? Try a coffee rub on your next steak for a unique flavor. Toast coffee grounds under a hot broiler for 30 seconds, shaking to prevent burning. Then add to steak spices and rub in to marinate a few hours in the fridge. Cook steak as desired.

6. Fabric Dye/Wood Stain

Coffee’s dark color makes it a good choice for giving fabrics or wood a worn look. It’s not going to be a very dark stain, but will be a unique, weathered look. Depending on the number of applications and type of material, this can produce some effective results.

7. Paint

Artists and crafters have used coffee and tea as a form of “paint” for ages. Regular brewed coffee can be brushed onto cardstock and will dry with a faded, brown, textured look. With repeated applications you can build up your image to create depth.

8. Cleaning Abrasive

Used coffee grounds can be used to clean your next dirty pot or pan before hand washing. The absorbent grounds are perfect for greasy pans and the small jagged edges of each ground help in cleaning the dirtiest dishware.

9. Facial Exfoliant

Coffee grounds are abrasive enough to scrub with, but soft enough to be used on your face. Gently massage a small amount of used grounds onto your face and skin is left feeling smooth.

10. Breath Freshener

Out of gum? Popping a whole coffee bean in your mouth for a few minutes can help freshen breath.

Coffee-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Now that Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is coming up. For a lot of people, that means cooking! Most of you probably know that turkey contains tryptophan, which can add to sleepiness after a big meal. Below are five coffee-inspired Thanksgiving recipes to add new tastes (and alertness!) to your Thanksgiving dinner:

1.       Smoked Turkey with Sweet Coffee Glaze

All you’ll need is a grill with a lid and some hickory chips, and about 3 hours to smoke this turkey (a smoker works too). Use an 11-12 pound bird, and before smoking douse it in 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, ½ cup of ground coffee, 1 onion, 12 fresh thyme sprigs, salt, black pepper, 2 cups of light brown sugar, and 2 gallons of water. Find the recipe here.

2.       Mahogany Chicken

Chicken may not be the most popular bird at the table on Thanksgiving, but this recipe may change your mind. This recipe uses ¾ cup ground coffee, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, 2-3 large chicken breasts, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper, and ¾ cup of water.

3.       Low Carb Sausage Gravy

This adventurous gravy option combines one pound of ground sausage, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup of water, salt and pepper, and the secret ingredient - ¼ cup of brewed coffee.

4.       Coffee Walnut Pie

This pie is easy to make, and a nice change of pace from the usual Thanksgiving pies.  It’s made with ½ cup of strong coffee, and you can find the recipe here.

5.       Pumpkin Latte Cake Bars

This is a great dish to satisfy any pumpkin lover’s taste buds. The cake layer is made from ½ cup of double strength brewed coffee (cooled), 1 box of spice cake mix, 1 can of pumpkin, and 1 large egg. The topping is from 15 oz. cream cheese, ½ cup of sugar, 1 large egg, another ¼ cup of the cooled coffee, 1 packet of instant cinnamon and spice oatmeal, and ¼ cup of chopped walnuts.  Dessert is served!

Don’t forget to add a cup of decaf after dinner, or try one of our holiday-inspired coffees like Pumpkin Spice or Cinnamon Sticky Bun. Happy Thanksgiving!

New Trends in Coffee Drinking

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

What are the latest trends in what to put in your coffee? Some people are opting for spices, various milks, and even butter in their daily cup of coffee, claiming health benefits:

1.       Cinnamon: This spice is a good way to add flavor to your coffee without adding empty calories or heavily changing its natural taste. Cinnamon is also good for you- it helps strengthen the immune system, boost brain function, and can lower blood sugar levels.

2.       Cashew, coconut, or almond milk: These milks are much lower in fat than cream, and bring different flavors to your coffee along with some health benefits. Many coconut milks don’t contain lactose or hydrogenated oils.

3.       Grass-fed butter: This may be a surprise, but it is said that this creates a rich cup of coffee and decreases the amount of time it takes for your body to metabolize coffee’s caffeine. This equates to more energy with a lower crash rate. However, your regular grocery store butter likely won’t produce the same effects.

4.       Eggs: Whole raw eggs or egg yolks can emulsify a warm cup of coffee, especially when blended with honey, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, or cayenne. Egg whites are easier for the body to digest as well.

If you’re looking for the healthiest cup of coffee, though, your best bet is to drink it black.

National Coffee Day

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The National Coffee Association credits Kaldi, a goatherder, with discovering coffee in the highlands of Ethiopia. It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, after eating berries from a certain tree, became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night.

A local monastery then made a drink with the berries which kept him alert for long hours of evening prayer, and soon the knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread. The consumption of coffee spread across the Arabian peninsula, and eventually across the globe. Today coffee is grown all over the world, but all locations can trace their heritage to the ancient Ethiopian coffee forests.

The Arabs were the first to begin the cultivation of coffee and its trade. By the 16th century, it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, and was consumed in homes and many public coffee houses. With thousands of pilgrims traveling to Mecca each year from all over the world, coffee started making its way back to Europe.

Coffee houses soon became centers of social activity, and were known as “penny universities” in England, as for one penny a person could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation. Tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World, until 1773 when the colonists revolted against the heavy tea taxes, and preferences began to shift to coffee.

As demand continued to spread, so did competition for cultivating coffee outside Arabia. The Dutch finally succeeded in obtaining seedlings, and they were successful on the island of Java.  Other countries began to gain access to seedlings, and in just 100 years, coffee became a commodity crop around the world. By the end of the 1700s, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops.

Fast forward to today, and coffee is a $30 billion industry worldwide. In the US, almost 83% of Americans drink coffee, which amounts to over 500 million cups per day.  Happy National Coffee Day!

Caffeinated Coffee May Help Retain New Memories

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

One newly-discovered perk of coffee is that it may help in retaining new memories. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University and UC- Irvine, people drinking at least two cups of caffeinated coffee daily may be better able to form certain kinds of memories than those who do not.

Young adults who don’t drink much coffee and hadn’t had any that day were recruited for the experiment and were shown a variety of pictures of objects, then asked whether the picture depicted an indoor or outdoor item. Soon after viewing the pictures, the subjects took either a caffeine pill (two cups of coffee worth) or a placebo.

The next day, they returned to the lab and were shown images and asked to label the ones that were repeats from the previous day. Some of the pictures were obvious additions, but some were subtle changes not readily recognized. Those subjects who had taken the caffeine pill were much more adept at picking out the subtle differences.

One cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine did not show a noticeable difference from the placebo, and three cups showed the same effect as two. Read more here!

Caffeine May Reduce Tinnitus, Ringing in Ears

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Drinking coffee may be good for your hearing, a new study suggests. Women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine were found to be less likely to have tinnitus, which is a steady ringing or buzzing in the ears.

The research included more than 65,000 American women aged 30-44, who did not have tinnitus in 1991 and were followed for 18 years. Women who consumed less than 150 mg of caffeine per day (about 1.5 cups of coffee) were 15% more likely to develop tinnitus than those who consumed 450-600 mg daily. Most of the caffeine consumed came from coffee, according to the study published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

While the exact reason why caffeine seems to have this effect is unknown, it is known that it stimulates the central nervous system and has had a direct effect on the inner ears of animals in previous studies.