A caffeine hit is a caffeine hit, right? Think again. You’ll get the energy boost regardless, but you may be unintentionally slashing the health benefits of your beans depending on factors like when you drink it and how you store it.
Now that science has decided coffee is good for you, you don’t want your precious brew to go to waste. Check out these common coffee mistakes and learn how to squeeze the most bang from your beans.
#1 Don’t let free radicals run free.
Even if you don’t know what free radicals are, you know you don’t want them in your body. Research in the journal Food Chemistry found that pre-ground coffee contains more free radicals, as does coffee stored in its original bag. Opt for whole beans, even if they’re a little more work, and store them in an airtight container. More of coffee’s antioxidants can make it into your body when they’re not used up neutralising free radicals.
#2 Drink the right roast.
Like dark and light chocolate, dark and light roasts have different qualities. Light roasts contain more chlorogenic acid, which can help stabilise blood sugar and possesses antioxidant properties. Dark roasts contain higher concentrations of melanoids, which have been linked to anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, and even anti-cancer properties. Dark roasts also contain less caffeine than light roasts.
#3 Don’t let it sit.
Take a sip. Set it down. Forget about it. Remember an hour later. Reheat. Take a sip. Repeat. Sound familiar? Air exposure may lessen your coffee’s antixoidant benefits, meaning your cup packs less of a healthy punch the longer it sits out. It may also increase in acidity which, while not a serious health issue, can up your risk of heartburn and indigestion.
#4 Time it right.
As tempting as it is to down a cup as soon as you wake up, that’s when you have the most natural energy (thanks to the stress hormone cortisol, which is at its highest in the first couple of hours after waking). Instead, many experts agree that the optimal time for your first injection of joe is between 10am and 12pm, when cortisol levels start to drop and your body can really use an outside source of energy.