You’ll often find people refraining from drinking coffee for health reasons, or if they’ve started on a new detox diet. But at the same time, more and more studies are popping up, linking coffee with a range of health benefits that spans anything from better mental health, reduced risk of cancer and heart attacks, and even a longer lifespan.
So is coffee good for you or not? We sat down with clinical dietician Dr. Bibi Chia at the Oasia Novena Living Room Club Lounge to get to the bottom of things, who says there’s a right way to drink coffee to get all its benefits.
Drink it black
What you put in your coffee matters too. Considering how little milk actually goes into a single serve of coffee, a splash of full cream milk isn’t going to make much a difference. At 3% fat to low fat milk’s 0.1% of fat, it’s worth it for the taste difference. Stay away from evaporated milk though, which has up to 3 times the amount of fat per volume as full cream milk. But the worst thing you can put in your coffee, Bibi says, is condensed milk, which is full of both fat and a lot of sugar.
Stay away from 3-in-1 sachets
Following that logic, you should also definitely avoid those 3-in-1 instant coffee sachets. As convenient (and tasty!) as they may be, these sachets often consist of more sugar and unhealthy non-dairy creamer than coffee. And bad news, kopi fans. The traditionally roasted coffee beans you find in your favourite kopitiams are often roasted with margarine and sugar at such high heat that the resulting charred beans pose a potential carcinogenic – cancer-causing- risk.
Use a filter
It’s generally well-known that black is healthiest when it comes to coffee. Without the added fat and sugar, an espresso or long black is a calorie-free, fat-free, and sugar-free drink with more health benefits than not. Surprisingly, not all black coffees are created equal. Certain brewing methods are better than others.
According to Bibi, the best way to brew your coffee is to use a pour over or drip filter.
Bibi explains that the paper filter strains out an oily compound found in coffee called cafestol, which has been shown to increase cholesterol levels. Of course, this effect is negligible if you just drink one cup a day, but if you’re a heavy (coffee) drinker that regularly chugs down multiple cups a day, you may want to consider changing the way you brew your coffee– especially if cholesterol is a concern.
The conclusion? The right kind of coffee is better for you than no coffee at all.