Do you know anyone who cannot drink coffee without the sweet taste? Have you ever heard anyone say: “My mocha latte is good for me! It has calcium, chocolate, and coffee all recommended by doctors.” The answer is likely yes. And they are partially right. Calcium is needed for our overall health, particularly bones; and dark chocolate and coffee both contains antioxidants that may be beneficial in moderation. Key words **may be….in moderation**.
The final jury is still out (and forever will be in my opinion) on the solid benefits of chocolate and coffee. Research has demonstrated benefits in certain sub-groups, with certain physiological conditions and cultures. In 2017, I recall reports in my professional journals on the benefits of drinking more coffee and conversely the dangers of drinking too much coffee. It is confusing even for health research professionals with training.
I have shared quite a few nutrition-related posts on this blog over the past year. Let’s break it down here to 5 key points:
- Nutrition comes down to balance.
- A balanced diet is colorful, with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains.
- Limit or avoid refined sugars, added salts, processed foods and saturated fats for optimal health.
- Be a conscious consumer. Learn what’s in your food, read labels and do your research.
- Your nutritional needs are individual to YOU. A Registered Dietitian, in concert with your doctor and a exercise physiologist, can help you determine exactly what your needs are based upon activity level, blood work and desired outcomes.
Let’s use our Mocha Latte for an example:
- If you have a 16oz mocha latte, ensure you have at least 16oz of water for hydration.
- Ask for nonfat/skim milk in your latte. Or if you prefer, almond or coconut milk. They all have protein with less fat.
- Request 1/2 the amount of mocha syrup OR sugar-free syrup. The typical 16oz mocha has 2-3 Tablespoons of mocha syrup in it. NOTE: sugar free syrup is sweet by chemicals, so if you are trying to avoid that, choose less mocha syrup over sugar-free.
- Check out the recipe (if available) online for the mocha. Major coffee chains post their nutritional information for drinks on their websites and/or apps. They should also allow you try something new and if you do not like it, make another for you.
- If you are lactose-intolerant, you may need to have almond or coconut milk. If you are trying to cut back on coffee, choose a 12oz instead of 16oz.
For more heart health nutrition tips and meal planning visit:
To Your Heart Health,
Starr Cortner, M.S, MCHES, ACE, AFAA is a wellness specialist with over 16 years of experience in cardiovascular health and emergency medicine.