Coffee is fuel for millennials. It is our go-to drink when we want to stay alert, energized, and on our toes throughout the day. That’s why it’s no surprise that our favorite drink remains the most widely consumed caffeinated drink on the planet. With more than 2.25 billion cups consumed per day, coffee remains in demand today and possibly more in the future.

But did you know that many people are drinking it wrong? Listed below are ways we undermine the many benefits of drinking a good cup of joe.

Don’t Add Milk  

Milky coffee sure tastes good and we love those perfect stable foams in our cups, but here’s something most people don’t know. If you want to get the most out of its benefits then don’t add milk.

Adding milk or any kind of dairy disrupts the whole nutrient absorption process. Coffee includes a polyphenol called chlorogenic acid which serves as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These polyphenols help fight diseases from arthritis to cancer prevention.

However, adding milk reduces these antioxidant’s ability to fight harmful free radicals. This is largely because milk contains casein, a protein that binds to polyphenols and decreases the antioxidant’s effectiveness.

Some people can’t have coffee without milk. If you’re looking for that similar flavor, these coffee-milk alternatives are worth a try: Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Unsweetened Almond or Coconut Milk.

Don’t Add Sugar

Ask any barista, for them, the best coffee is one that’s sugar-free. Sugar doesn’t only give your drink lots of extra calories, it also masks other flavors in your drink. Furthermore, sugar consumption creates hypoglycemia which leaves your body tired and hungry after continuous consumption.

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So next time you reach for sugar, try these healthy replacements instead: Cocoa powder, Soy Milk or Vanilla Almond Milk.

Don’t Overdrink

Too much caffeine consumption leads to tolerance. A condition where the drinker needs a higher dosage in order to get the same brain-boosting effects. When you quit coffee after severe addiction, it leads to abstinence which results in withdrawal symptoms that include mood swings, irritability, and headaches.

People who overdrink coffee experience heightened anxiety, elevated heart rate, and jitters that can induce nausea or vomiting.

How much is too much? And what should you do to combat the symptoms? According to experts, a normal adult can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s equal to four cups of brewed coffee. If you had more than that – here’s what you should do:

First, drink some water. Water can hydrate your body and avoid the mentioned symptoms above. Consuming caffeine depletes the body’s magnesium and potassium, for this you need to have a banana or dark leafy greens.

Don’t Drink When You Don’t Need It  

It’s not just what you put in your coffee, as it turns out when you drink it is important too. Most if not all of us prefer drinking coffee in the morning (maybe around 6-9 am) soon after we wake up. This is actually pointless. Research suggests that caffeine should not be consumed at the same time when your cortisol levels are naturally peaking. Remember that coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant, so the mornings where your energy is at full peak is not the best time to drink it.

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In a frequently cited research on caffeine by Steven L. Miller Ph.D., findings reveal that most people have their peak cortisol levels between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. So it shows that drinking coffee during these hours may actually inhibit its effectiveness and may do more harm than good (tolerance). To make the most of the drink, you should time your coffee breaks in between these hours.

Final Thoughts

From its humble beginnings, coffee has evolved into an addictive commodity which keeps us millennials sane for daily work. Of course, we all have our own preferences when it comes to our daily cup and I can’t blame you if you can’t have your coffee without sugar or milk – BUT if you want to maximize this wonder drink’s benefits, then you’re free to follow the points above.