We’ve come a long way from cups of instant coffee to enjoying barista-style coffees today in the office. Many of us now expect to be offered a wide choice of coffee types from cappuccinos and americanos to ristrettos and flat whites – the list goes on. However is coffee actually good for us? With coffee and tea being the two most popular drinks in the UK, we take a look at which coffee is the healthiest to drink. Is coffee healthy?
Is coffee good for me?
Overall, coffee certainly has health benefits, but like everything, it should be enjoyed in moderation. It’s recommended not to exceed 3 to 5 cups daily, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine. Its health benefits depend on how you take your coffee, and determining the healthiest cup of coffee for you depends on your personal health goals. For example, if you’re trying to lose or maintain a certain weight, you might want to stick to black coffee. Black coffee has zero calories so is helpful for those calorie counting. If say you have a heart condition or you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might want to switch to decaf. Similarly, those who suffer from anxiety might want to cut out caffeine as this can exacerbate symptoms. If you have diabetes, you’ll want to monitor how much sugar you add to your brew. And for some people, coffee can upset stomachs so they may wish to avoid it entirely. Finally, if you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep, avoid coffee just before bedtime as it can cause insomnia.
However, as we mentioned overall there are health benefits. Experts say some of the strongest protective effects of coffee may be from Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and various liver conditions such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and chronic liver disease.
Which coffee should I choose?
The health effects of coffee vary based on the type of bean, the brand of coffee, the roast, the brewing method and of course how you take your coffee. If you’re enjoying your coffee with lots of sugar, milk or cream, that’s not going to be very healthy for you. Especially if you’re having a few coffees every day, this will all add up to excess calories and fat in your diet. Take for example a caramel macchiato from Starbucks which is a popular coffee shop choice. These come in at over 300 calories per cup and 7 grams of fat, which is more than a McDonald’s cheeseburger!
If you’re not a black coffee drinker, you’ll be adding some type of milk to your coffee. There are so many milks on the market today and the choice you make will impact how healthy your coffee is. Dairy milk is still the most popular milk type in the UK – specifically semi-skimmed milk. If you’re health-conscious, you might want to opt for skimmed milk but to get the best-tasting coffee, full-fat whole milk will work the best. Whole milk will create a smoother, creamier coffee plus it makes a better foam over semi-skimmed or most plant-based milk.
Oat and almond milk
Oat milk is the most popular plant-based milk in the UK. Research carried out by Mintel, found that 32% of people polled now drink milk made from either soy, oats, almond or rice – up from 25% in 2020, proving its popularity is on the up. Oat milk is higher in carbs than some other plant milk, but it boasts extra fibre. Extra fibre offers several health benefits, such as reducing your cholesterol levels and keeping you feeling full for longer.
Almond milk is the second best-selling alternative milk in the UK and it’s also a healthy option. It actually has fewer calories than cow’s milk but make sure you opt for the unsweetened variety otherwise, it will have a lot of added sugar. For more information on the many other types of milk available, head to our blog.
Talking of sugar, how you sweeten your coffee will determine how healthy your cup is. We recommend being mindful about how much sugar you use or choosing a sugar substitute instead. Sugar substitutes taste sweet but don’t contain actual sugar. They have fewer calories than sugar, and some have no calories at all.
Types of coffee
The two types of coffee beans that are most widely cultivated are Coffee Arabica (Arabica) and Coffee Canephora (Robusta). These two species make up 99% of the world’s coffee production. Although there are thousands of variations making up the remaining 1%.
Arabica accounts for around 70% of global coffee production. It typically has a more fruity, floral taste with complex acidity. It has more variation in flavour than Robusta and tends to be more expensive. Robusta is most commonly used for instant coffee and espresso blends. Robusta can taste a little bitter, however, many coffee drinkers favour the bolder notes it can offer. If you’re looking for a quick caffeine fix, Robusta is the one to reach for as it has about 25% more caffeine than Arabica.
Though light-roasted Robusta beans have more antioxidants than lightly roasted Arabica beans, in medium and dark-roasted form, Arabica coffee has more antioxidants than Robusta. So in conclusion, it’s really up to you which type you choose and a lot of it will just come down to taste.
Get in touch
If you’re looking for coffee for your health-conscious team, simply get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to advise on what’s right for you.