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5 Counterintuitive Reasons to Love Your Coffee Even More

5 Counterintuitive Reasons to Love Your Coffee Even More

I love my coffee. It’s such a big part of my life that I often take for granted. From the sound and smell of a freshly brewed coffee pot in the morning, to people chatting about their daily lives in a coffee shop, to that moment when I raise that hot cup of coffee and taste java, I love the entire experience.

With all of the coffee I drink in a day (about 4 cups), I had to wonder if it was actually helping me in ways I didn’t even realize. Of course, we’re all different and have different reactions to coffee, but I wanted to know if coffee actually had benefits other than jump-starting our morning and keeping us awake. There are many health benefits to drinking coffee, but some of these reasons to drink coffee might surprise you.

1. Coffee can help you build positive habits.

We often hear about people who say they are addicted to caffeine and have developed bad habits around drinking coffee. In my experience, coffee can actually be used as a reward for building up positive habits.

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One powerful habit that is beneficial to me is my morning routine. I tested out some ways to get up earlier, and the one thing that always motivated me to get up and get going was my morning coffee. So, I set up a reward system for getting up to meditate, shower, and eat breakfast. When I did all these three things, a nice cup of coffee was my reward. If you prefer other types of coffee, try making your favorite espresso drink, buying iced coffee packets, or simply purchase an automated coffee pot.

2. Coffee can help you live longer.

Several studies have shown that people who drink coffee live longer. It turns out that coffee has hundreds of other compounds besides caffeine. Many of these compounds are antioxidants, which prevent oxidation in the body by blocking free radicals. Antioxidants are believed to slow the aging process, as well as fight off cancer and heart disease.

Even more good news: the magic number of coffee drinks (8 ounces) per day is between four and five. Any more than that, didn’t seem to make any difference.

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3. Coffee can help you nap.

Say whaaaat? Yes, it’s true. Ever heard of a coffee nap? According to a Japanese study, the coffee nap is the most effective way to combat sleepiness and increase performance level.

Why does this work? The key is to take the nap immediately after consumption (before the caffeine kicks in), and it takes about 20 minutes for that caffeine to kick in. Napping helps to clear out a chemical called adenosine, which at increased levels, can cause fatigue. Then caffeine (an adenosine blocker) swoops in just in time. In my experience, the coffee nap is the best way to combat that afternoon slump.

4. Coffee can help your liver.

An interesting new study shows that drinking two cups of coffee per day can decrease your chances of getting alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver by as much as 43 percent.

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Why is that? Researches aren’t 100 percent sure yet, but suspect it has to do with coffee’s antioxidant or anti-inflammatory compounds. This is not to suggest we should all now safely consume more and more alcohol, but it does show that coffee can help counter the effects of toxins in the liver.

It will be interesting to see if certain compounds in coffee will be used to protect the liver or other vital organs.

5. Coffee can be relaxing.

Coffee affects people in all different ways. For some, it can cause people with anxiety to become ever more anxious. Or, it can cause some people to get the jitters, but it doesn’t affect everyone this way.

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According to best-selling author Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, coffee can be relaxing for some people. Not only can some people drink coffee at any time of day with no physical effects, many also find the ritual of drinking coffee relaxing: the hot coffee, the smell, the taste. It can become a deeply ritualistic and relaxing experience.

If you coffee does affect you negatively, you may try tea instead for a similar effect. But for some, coffee provides unique relaxing benefits counterintuitive to what one would think.

Coffee is now the number one consumed beverage worldwide. All this coffee consumption has hidden benefits that many of us don’t even realize. There are even more reasons why drinking coffee is beneficial to our well being. So the next time you brew your favorite cup of coffee, remember these five counterintuitive reasons to love your coffee.

Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Published on March 27, 2020

20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss

20 Easy Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss

I’m sure you’ve heard of a million different smoothie recipes for weight loss, right? Let’s be honest…they are quick, easy, flavorful, filling, and so delicious! On top of that, you can easily adjust smoothies to meet your macros. Plus, they can make incredible low-calorie subs for some of those sweets you might be craving. 

Maybe you’re wondering, are smoothies good for weight loss?

Yes and no. Smoothies can be great meal replacements and a way to sneak in extra protein! However, they also can lead to lots of unwanted calories if used incorrectly.

You’ve probably heard it said before: Don’t drink your calories. In a lot of cases, that can be true. It’s not necessarily that smoothies or liquid calories are bad, but it can be hard to justify a smoothie as being a meal, even if it has the calories of one. For that simple reason, some people trying to lose weight might use smoothies more as a snack than a meal, and with that could come unwanted weight gain.

That being said, smoothies are generally healthy and can be amazing at curbing cravings! On top of that, the macro profile (portion of carbs, fats, and proteins) can be spot on as well. Sometimes it actually makes more sense to reach for a copy-cat smoothie version of your favorite dessert (made out of whole ingredients that will keep you satisfied) instead of reaching for a dessert that will spike your blood sugar.

Because of these differences, we need to make a distinction between smoothies that are used as a meal vs ones that can be snuck in as a snack:

Meal Smoothies

These should have a mix of fiber, protein, carbs, and fat. These types of smoothies should generally be used as a meal substitute. An 8 ounce smoothie of just fruit isn’t enough to satisfy most people for long. However, this blend of macro-nutrients will ensure your body feels satiated until your next meal.

Why is that? Fiber, protein, and fat tend to be slower to digest, so your body gets a steady trickle of nutrients that will last a longer time. In contrast, pure fruit is easily digested and will quickly boost your blood sugar only to drop it soon after.

Snack Smoothies

These are lower calorie and nutrient dense. In contrast to meal smoothies, these light and fresh smoothies can give you a quick boost of energy. These smoothies are an amazing way to sneak in extra greens and super-foods. However, they aren’t likely to keep you feeling full for long.

Use snack smoothies between meals or when you need a pick-me-up. But be mindful! Too much snacking of any kind throughout the day could still lead to too many calories.

Now that you know the difference between snack and meal smoothies, dig in to my top 20 smoothie recipes! With options ranging from decadent desserts to light and fresh pick me ups, you’ll find everything you need below! It’s time to satisfy your cravings the healthy way!

1. Snickerdoodle Smoothie

Snickerdoodle Smoothie @spabettie

    Is there anything better than that sweet and unique tang of a snickerdoodle cookie? I grew up with this cookie as an infamous family dessert (we even named our rabbits after this favorite treat). However, if you’re looking to bring back that taste without the calories, all hope is not lost! This snickerdoodle smoothie registers at under 400 calories and rings in 14 grams of protein. If your looking to lower calories and sugar, there are also modifications to use stevia or monk fruit as a sweetener instead!

    Check out the recipe here!

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    2. The Best Green Smoothie

      Okay, let’s be real. We all want to add a little more green into our lives. However, sometimes it can be hard to gag down. Change all of that with this 5-star smoothie recipe. Not only is this smoothie incredibly delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients. Chug those greens the easy way!

      Check out the recipe here!

      3. Detox Smoothie

      See the source image

        This smoothie is fresh, light, and green, giving your body the nutrient boost it needs. In addition to that, it packs a bonus boost of cilantro, which is said to aid in reducing heavy metal toxicity.

        Check out the recipe here!

        4. Detox Smoothie #2

        Detox Smoothie

          This incredible smoothie recipe not only gives you the ingredients, but also a step-by-step guide to designing your own fantastic smoothie recipes! Once you get a taste of this, you will never want to go back!

          Check out the recipe here!

          5. Easy Weight Loss Smoothie

          Easy Weight Loss Smoothie: Zucchini, Kale, Buckwheat, Baobab, Carrots, Green Grapes

            If you aren’t a fan of bananas, then this one is for you! Instead, this smoothie uses zucchini as a thickening agent and buckwheat to keep you full and satisfied all day long! And for you celiacs out there…yes, buckwheat is gluten free!

            Check out the recipe here!

            6. Creamy Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

            See the source image

              Part of the struggle with trying to lose weight and create healthier habits is the struggle of having to give up some of your favorite foods, like chocolate. Say no more. This chocolate mint smoothie is the perfect blend of protein and chocolate to satisfy your cravings for good! Why avoid what you love when you can indulge the healthy way?

              Check out the recipe here!

              7. Creamy Cacao Avocado Smoothie

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              See the source image

                Speaking of chocolate, give this smoothie a go! The blend of avocado and chocolate will keep you feeling satisfied and healthy all day long. Not to mention, the creaminess of this one will blow your mind.

                Check out the recipe here!

                8. Copy-Cat Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino

                This easy, healthy homemade Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino recipe is low calorie, vegan, and so delicious! Even better than the original and perfect for coffee frappuccino lovers. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

                  Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and felt the agonizing sting of realizing you can’t order anything but a black coffee? I feel your pain. Personally, I am a huge frappuccino girl, and life without my blends sounds agonizing. Is it a smoothie? Technically no. But this recipe could easily double as one! It’s lower in calories, healthier, and still delicious. Feel free to add some collagen for an added protein boost!

                  Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Frozen Fruit Smoothie

                  A glass of frozen fruit smoothie in crushed ice, garnished with berries and mint.

                    Sometimes, you don’t need to venture far past the basics to find your ideal smoothie. With a base of apple juice and yogurt, this smoothie provides the best blend of sweetness and creaminess!

                    Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Strawberry Keto Smoothie

                    Strawberry Avocado Keto Smoothie Recipe with Almond Milk - The best strawberry avocado smoothie recipe needs just 4 INGREDIENTS! You're going to love this paleo keto smoothie with almond milk. And, it's ready in a just a few minutes.

                      Yes! You can still have smoothies while on a keto diet. As it just so happens, berries are very low-carb! In addition to that, this smoothie uses avocado to add an extra boost of creaminess and healthy fats. This one is sure to keep you burning fat all day long!

                      Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Real Fruit Smoothie

                      Real Fruit Smoothie

                        Stick to the basics to get a maximum boost of nutrients! This smoothie gets straight to the point by using the best fruit medleys to blend you the ultimate weight loss drink.

                        Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Citrus Energy-Boosting Smoothie

                        pre workout smoothie

                          Feeling tired and run down? Instead of running to the coffee pot when you first wake up, try running to the blender instead! This amazing smoothie mix is an incredible way to give your body a nutrient boost while giving you the energy you need to get through the day.

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                          Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Skinny Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

                          Skinny Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie -- only 3 ingredients in this healthy recipe & it tastes like dessert!

                            This vegan recipe will have you drooling for more! It’s vegan, low calorie, and delicious! What makes it different than any regular strawberry smoothie? The secret is in a butter extract that gives it a rich pastry flavor while keeping it low in calories. If you feel like leaving your chair to blend this one up right away, you are in good company.

                            Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Banana Split Smoothie

                            Glass of our amazing Vegan Banana Split Smoothie with Coconut Whipped Cream and a cherry on top

                              This rich and decadent smoothie will have you feeling like you’re indulging at an old fashioned ice cream parlor. This recipe is absolutely delicious and will have our cravings flying out the window. It stays deliciously smooth and creamy with the banana base and dates for an extra touch of creaminess.

                              Fair warning: this smoothie does have a slightly higher natural sugar content. However, it is much lower than going crazy and diving into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Of course, if you feel like having a lighter version of this same drink, you can always sub a little banana and dates for zucchini and stevia.

                              Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Skinny Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

                              (Skinny!) Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie | gimmesomeoven.com #vegan #glutenfree

                                And here we have it! Yet another healthy smoothie version of your favorite dessert! If you’re getting sick of eating oatmeal in the mornings, try using it in a shake instead! Because of the high fiber in oatmeal, it helps keep you feeling full and satiated longer while giving the smoothie a fun new texture.

                                Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Pineapple Kale Smoothie

                                Good for you kale smoothie in a glass made with ingredients like bananas, pineapple, and honey which have tons of health benefits

                                  If you’re looking to sneak some extra greens into your day (and let’s be honest, aren’t we all!) this pineapple kale smoothie is for you! Not only are the ingredients incredibly nutrient dense, but they’re also light and fresh. Pineapple is known for helping digestion because of an enzyme it contains called bromelain. Just for that reason, this smoothie can keep you feeling light and energized after you sip!

                                  Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Healthy Shamrock Shake

                                  Tall milkshake glass with Shamrock Shake Mint Smoothie

                                    You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy a good shamrock shake! Also, it turns out you don’t have to be unhealthy for it either! This shamrock shake is made of entirely healthy ingredients and even sports Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost. Have a bowl of yogurt or a shamrock shake? It’s your choice, but I know which one I would go for! And the ingredients turn out to be almost exactly identical at the end of the day.

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                                    Check out the recipe here!

                                    18. Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

                                    straw with creamy Banana cinnamon roll smoothie sticking to it

                                      Once again sporting Greek yogurt for a good protein boost, this smoothie could make an amazing low-calorie meal replacement. It contains yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and fruit, offering a great blend of fiber, protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Not only does it taste fantastic, but it could very well curb cravings while remaining relatively low-calorie and satiating.

                                      Check out the recipe here!

                                      19. Golden Glow Turmeric Smoothie

                                      Golden Glow Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie! Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, easy to make!

                                        The sound of having turmeric in your smoothie might make some of you cringe, but it is definitely worth trying. For one, pineapple has such a strong flavor in and of itself that the turmeric’s taste is almost completely masked. Secondly, turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that everyone should try adding it to their diet. You might be surprised to find out that it is actually pretty tasty as well!

                                        Check out the recipe here!

                                        20. Copy-Cat Disneyland Dole Whip Smoothie

                                        Homemade, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Plant-based, Dessert, cruelty-free, Dole Whip, Disneyland Dole Whip, Disneyland, Disney, Pineapple, Sorbet, Soft Serve, Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, Recipe, How to make Dole Whip

                                           

                                          If you really want to take a taste of magic home, try out this fantastic recipe! Made with only two ingredients, you will get that creamy indulgent taste you love without the sugar or extra calories. Curb those cravings the right way!

                                          Check out the recipe here!

                                          Bonus Smoothie Additions

                                          For an extra weight loss boost, try these fun additions!

                                          Greens

                                          Sneak in greens wherever you can! Smoothies tend to be very flavorful, so you usually won’t even notice a few added greens in there. However, the nutrients will keep you feeling extra energetic throughout the day!

                                          Protein

                                          Add in a small scoop of protein powder to almost any smoothie. Especially if you are looking for a meal replacement, the simple addition of protein powder will ensure you’re staying full throughout the day!

                                          Frozen Zucchini

                                          Did you hear me right? Yes you did! Zucchini is actually a great thickening agent in smoothies. Translation: Less sugar and more fiber! Since zucchini is so low in calories and almost flavorless, you can use it in smoothies for a rich and creamy texture while keeping things low-calorie. Plus, the extra fiber will have you feeling like you had a full meal for way less calories.

                                          Sweetener Subs

                                          Most smoothies use extra honey, syrups, or fruit for their sweeteners. However, that can add up very quickly to unwanted calories. Instead, try subbing low calorie sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia once in a while to cut down on the high sugar count. That being said, avoid artificial sweeteners like Splenda. They won’t do you any good.

                                          Sub Desserts

                                          Try making healthy smoothie renditions of your favorite desserts. We’re only human, and it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet sometimes. Instead of giving something up, find a sub for your favorite meals! In this case, getting that amazing flavor you are craving in the form of a low-calorie smoothie could be just the thing for you!

                                          More Healthy Recipes

                                          Featured photo credit: Chelsea shapouri via unsplash.com

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