Black. Au lait. Iced. Two sugars. Mocha.
There are limitless ways to enjoy a cup of coffee, but is it possible that there's a wrong way to do it?
According to science there is.
This may be hard to hear for those of us who have a deep and physical (okay, almost religious) connection to their morning joe, but there are certain times when coffee should be consumed.
The timing is based on your circadian rhythm, which regulates your body's sleep/wake cycle.
At certain points in this cycle, your body releases the hormone cortisol that essentially stresses you out a bit and makes you more alert and energized.
Drinking coffee when cortisol levels are high is not ideal for boosting your energy in the moment, but could also cause — gasp — the caffeine to become less effective for you overall.
Understandably, levels of cortisol are high shortly after waking up, since your body was so relaxed from sleeping all night and you need to get yourself in gear.
It's best to wait to have that first cup of coffee until after cortisol production starts to wane, about an hour after you get up. You'll have another peak about three hours after that, with another one about four hours later, right before dinnertime.
To get the biggest buzz with the least amount of coffee, make sure you're not reaching for your mug at these high cortisol times.
Check out the full explanation here:
[Header image: michaeljung/iStockphoto]