For so many of us, all across the world, a good cup of coffee is as much a part of our morning routine as brushing our teeth (well, almost).
In fact, over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed across the world, every single day.
Beyond the fact that it tastes absolutely divine, your daily cup of coffee is actually filled with health benefits. Yes, it makes a great pick-me-up, but did you know that it also acts as a great source of antioxidants and even a potential combatant to neurodegenerative diseases?
If you’re keen to learn a bit more about the nutritious properties of coffee, all will be revealed below.
We’ve also sourced a scrumptious easy recipe for a sugar-free cinnamon and coffee traybake, which will make the perfect partner to your next coffee break. Yes, it may be a cake, but we're sticking to the healthy theme here. This particular cake recipe features a generous jot of coffee, and is completely sugar-free! Just the thing for a delicious midweek treat.
Keep reading for a round-up of coffee’s surprising health benefits, plus the big reveal of our sugar-free cinnamon and coffee traybake recipe.
Coffee is also a key go-to for an early start, or on hand after a late night to zap a bit of energy back into our system. But, because of these two great plus points, many of us haven’t needed any further convincing to become firm fans of coffee. As a result, its numerous nutritional properties have gone largely unacknowledged.
To the surprise of many of us, coffee actually provides its regular drinkers with a huge amount of bonuses. These include everything from potentially lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, to improving your overall performance that day. Below, we’ve outlined a few of coffee’s health claims in more detail, the science underpinning these claims, and some of the downsides that regular coffee drinking can bring, to help you see the bigger picture.
It’s high in antioxidants
Coffee is full of antioxidants, which is great for the body’s overall health. Your cup of coffee contains B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients help to protect the body’s cells from being oxidised. As such, this leaves them better equipped to fight harmful toxins or chemicals.
A possible metabolism booster
Interestingly, some reports have found that this improved performance has a significant benefit when it comes to our exercise regime. Since coffee stimulates our nervous system, this property possibly helps our body breakdown its fat, so that it can be burned off during exercise - so much so, some scientists believe that coffee can improve our athletic performance by 12%.
Based on this scientific understanding, research is also being undertaken to assess whether coffee can boost our metabolic rate. Due to the process outlined above, some researchers believe that coffee can help our bodies to burn fat (and that’s not just when we’re exercising). In addition, because coffee increases your levels of adrenaline, it helps your body to ready itself for a bout of exercise. It’s key to note, however, that this claim is still being researched.
A potential combatant to neurodegenerative diseases
Recent studies have attempted to assess the potential that coffee has to help protect our brains against diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Although the findings have not been confirmed, the claims continue to be assessed and are exciting in their potential.
It may protect the body against diabetes
Some evidence has been found to link regular coffee drinking to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. However, this claim is still being researched and has not been confirmed as a health claim as of yet.
It may help you to live longer
According to a recent study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, three cups of coffee a day has been linked to a longer lifespan. This is because coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease, and are less likely to experience strokes.
Apparently, the risk that a regular coffee drinker has of premature death is reduced by as much as 25%.
It’s a great mood-booster
The stimulating effects that coffee provides means that the body’s production of key mood-boosting neurotransmitters - such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline - are increased. According to the research undertaken by one study, having two cups of coffee every day can possibly reduce the risk of suicide by as much as 50%.
It boosts both your energy and your performance
For many of us, a cup of coffee makes us feel a lot less sleepy and significantly improves our focus. This property is due to its caffeine content - it’s the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance. When we drink coffee, the caffeine gets absorbed into our bloodstream, travels up to our brain, and then energises several key neurons. This process means that coffee is often seen to improve both the energy and performance of its drinkers.
While it’s great to showcase all of the wonderful plus points that coffee has to offer, it’s also important to mention its not-so-positive properties. The NHS does not have an advised maximum daily coffee consumption (unless you are pregnant, in which case the advice is that you should not consume more than 200mg of caffeine per day). However, for people who are more sensitive to caffeine, the downsides can include dizziness, headaches and tremors, as well as difficulty sleeping.
Plus, the nutritional benefits of a black cup of good quality coffee are worlds away from a super-sweet caramel frappuccino with whipped cream and sprinkles (duh), so three sugary and fatty coffee-based drinks would not be recommended.
Yet, with these considerations aside, you can see how much good coffee has to offer its drinkers. Beyond its nutritional properties, coffee also makes a wonderful addition to the store cupboard of home cooks and bakers. It’s a delicious, flexible ingredient which makes a stunning addition to a wide variety of recipes.
To give you a glimpse into coffee’s potential as the next baking staple, we’ve provided you with our divine recipe for sugar-free cinnamon and coffee traybake. Not only does it taste amazing, provide a great healthy alternative to a pack of biscuits, but it also makes a wonderful way to fill your house with the gorgeous aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Recipe for Sugar-Free Cinnamon and Coffee Traybake
For the topping:
- Plain flour, 600g
- Monk Fruit sweetener, 50g (as an alternative to brown sugar, you could also use Splenda)
- Ground Cinnamon, 1 tsp.
- Butter, 55g
For the cake:
- Plain flour, 600g
- Bicarbonate of Soda, 1 tsp
- Salted Butter, 200g
- Ground Cinnamon, 2 tbsp
- Splenda, 450g
- Eggs, 4
- Vanilla Extract, 2 tsp
- Strong Coffee (cooled), 70ml
- Sour Cream, 450g
- First, make the topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Take your butter from the fridge (it needs to be cold for this recipe) and cut it up into chunks. Then, using the tips of your fingers, gently rub the butter into the mixture until fully combined. Set aside for now.
- Now we can move on to the cake itself. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Then preheat the oven to 160°C.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and baking soda, then aside.
- In a separate small bowl, combine 100g of the Splenda with the cinnamon. Set this bowl aside, too.
- In a third, large mixing bowl, combine the butter with the rest of the Splenda. Beat well until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well as you do so. Then add in the vanilla and the coffee.
- To the batter mixture, add in half of the sour cream, followed by half of the flour mixture (made in step 3). Mix well, then repeat, adding in the rest of the sour cream and the flour mixture.
- To create the cake’s trademark layered effect, you need to create layers by alternating between the batter and the cinnamon mixture (made in step 4). Pour one-third of the batter into the baking tray. Top with one-third of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat this process two more times.
- Top the batter with the crumble topping. Pop it into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. You can test whether it’s cooked by inserting a toothpick in the middle - if it comes out clean, your cake is cooked. Make sure you check on the cake halfway through, as you may need to cover it with tin foil to keep the top from browning too much.
What’s great about this recipe is the fact that its ingredients can be modified to best suit you. For example, if you’re baking for an individual who is gluten-free, you can easily switch out the plain flour for an alternative gluten-free flour. Or, if you’re watching your carb intake, you can even make the cake low carb by opting for a low carb Carbalose flour.
The crumble topping (although we think it’s absolutely delicious!) is entirely optional, so you can easily take it out if you just fancy a simple sponge. You could even swap the crumble topping for a simple traybake glaze (just combine Greek yoghurt with two tablespoons of Splenda), if that tickles your taste buds.
Or, if you fancy making this traybake for an extra luxurious breakfast treat, you could even add a bit of granola to your topping - it adds a delicious crunch to the recipe, and makes it feel like a posh breakfast pastry.
If you like your cakes to have a bit of bite, in step 4, you could fold a few chopped nuts (pistachios or walnuts work particularly well) into the batter.
For our traybake recipe, you won’t be surprised to hear that one thing we’re particularly picky about is the coffee that you use. Rather than pouring in a weak mug of instant coffee, make the cake really come alive (and all your efforts in the kitchen worthwhile!) by using a rich, strong brew of speciality coffee. Luckily, Smarter is on hand to make your day of baking as hassle-free as possible.
With Smarter’s Coffee, you can ensure that fresh, piping-hot coffee is always on hand, whenever you need. This particular piece of kitchen technology is perfect for regular coffee drinkers, as it allows you to brew delicious coffee with just a few quick taps. You can even sync it up to your voice activation technology, to give you a coffee machine that you can, literally, just ask to make your coffee for you.
We’re delighted to be able to announce that our Coffee machines are now back in stock. So, if you’re ready to start making the most out of coffee’s extensive health benefits, pay a visit to our online store. Get your hands on a Smarter Coffee, and you can bring the coffee shop to your home.