ATLANTA - Can't live without your morning joe? Good news, coffee is good for you!
An 8 ounce cup of brewed black coffee has just 2 calories, zero fat, lots of healthy for you ingredients like protective antioxidants, and caffeine to give you a boost.
But too much coffee can be tricky, says Dr. Taz Bhatia of CentreSpring MD in Brookhaven, Georgia.
She goes professionally by Dr. Taz.
"Coffee is one of those foods where there is a sweet spot," Dr. Taz says. "In moderation, it actually has a lot of great health benefits."
To her, "moderation" means one cup of good quality, preferably organic, plain coffee.
"The problem is most people are pulling into their local barista, and they're having much that the 4 to 6 ounces a day," she says. "And they're adding all kinds of things to that coffee."
Like whipped cream -- and sugar that each add about 50 calories per tablespoon. Half and half adds about 20 calories.
Artificial or non-dairy creamers have fewer calories, but can be packed with ingredients many of us can't recognize much less pronounce.
"One of the biggest ways to mess it (coffee) up is adding a lot of sweeteners to it, adding syrups, adding the artificial sweeteners," Dr. Taz says.
For a healthier way to boost the flavor of a cup of coffee, hit the spice aisle at your local grocery store.
Try something like cinnamon.
"And the reason that works is because cinnamon, remember, stabilizes blood sugar," says Dr. Taz. "Cinnamon is also an antioxidant."
Cardamom, found in Middle Eastern coffees, will add flavor and fiber, and it's said to boost circulation.
And vanilla, either the bean or the extract form, can sweeten coffee without adding processed sugars and fat.
Or, you could make your own lower-calorie mocha by adding cocoa powder.
All spice and ginger can also add flavor.
Dr. Taz also likes adding coconut oil to coffee, which can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep your appetite at bay.
But, remember, she says, think "natural" and think "small."
"Four to six a day is more than enough honestly. And more than that is where you're getting into trouble, no matter how much stuff you add into it trying to make it healthy."
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