No soda, no eggnog, no Christmas cookies, the list of “naughty foods” may seem unbearable this time of year. But I’m hear to tell you that coffee is on the nice list. Black coffee has almost no calories and a plethora of health benefits. Despite several studies showing that coffee is actually good for you, many people still believe it is an unhealthy drink that they should give up. Not true. These studies have demonstrated that drinking coffee (up to 4-5 cups per day) can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, cut your risk for Parkinson’s disease nearly in half and also decrease depression in women. While its not completely clear what exact component of coffee confers these health benefits, we do know that some of these benefits are seen with decaf as well as regular. Some scientists suspect the health benefit is due to the chlorogenic acid found in coffee which is a powerful antioxidant. This is good news for those who may get the jitters or have trouble sleeping while consuming caffeine.
What about those fancy Holiday drinks from coffee shops? As long as they still have coffee you will get some benefit, but often times the sugar and calorie totals are sky high. If you enjoy your fufu coffee drinks I recommend asking for your drink “lightly sweetened” and made with non-fat or low-fat milk.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy coffee during the holidays is with a peppermint stir stick- err I pretty much just throw a broken candy cane in my coffee and call it Christmas Blend! Sure there is a bit of added sugar but there is also added enjoyment. Other ways to make your coffee Christmas festive are adding cinnamon, a splash of Eggnog, or going halfsies with hot chocolate and coffee. So this Holiday season, sit back, relax, pretend it’s cold outside and enjoy that nice warm cup of coffee- with or without a candy cane.
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She currently works at Sierra Vista Medical Clinic where she counsels adults and children with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. She has a passion for blogging and delivering her healthy eating message in a fun and humorous way. Her hobbies include baking and cooking, snowboarding, and any outdoor activities. She is also an avid group exerciser and loves teaching Zumba Fitness classes. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.