Happiness by the cup

Many coffee lovers know the health benefits packed into their favorite brewed beverage. Coffee is rich in antioxidants, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it may help guard against liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes. Coffee enjoyed in moderation – perhaps an eight-ounce cup daily- is a delicious and nutritious way to savor life.

Tip: Beware of coffee flavored with sugary syrups and fatty creams. A 16-ounce Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, for example, slams you with 540 calories and packs 80 grams of carbs, 76 of which come from sugar!

Other research suggests why you should consider the benefits that reach beyond coffee’s nutritional properties accrued from the beans and caffeine. Consumer research indicates that those who spend time and money on coffee breaks at the local café can reap emotional profits: A 2008 study by scholars from Harvard Business Scholl and the University of British Columbia says that material consumption is not the way to happiness.

Experiences, rather than goods, tend to make people happier, and spending $5 or less on such experiences in a typical day can be enough. So, have a cup of joe at your local espresso bar; it’ll provide a healthy break from your routine, allow you to socialize and put a smile on your face.

How to pick the right cup

Knowledge is key for getting the best cup of joe, and knowing how acidity levels vary by region can help you please your particular coffee taste buds. Coffee origins are a primary factor when it comes to acidity levels found in your cup: Latin American coffees are highest in natural acids, while African coffees from Ethiopia and Kenya fall near the middle of the acidity scale. Indonesian coffees, on the other hand, contain little to no acidity. Discover your favorites, learning where they’re sourced and how they’re roasted. You’ll sip some happiness that’s good for you, too.

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