Stay Healthy With a Cup of Coffee

Cynthia Sass explains the importance of coffee in your daily diet.

Jan. 11, 2011 — -- I remember my very first sip of coffee. It was like nothing I'd ever tasted before and I was instantly enamored. That's why I'm thrilled to spread the word as a nutritionist that java is actually good for you!

Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. It is a plant food after all, and regular consumption has also been linked to a lower risk of Parkinson's, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and liver disease.

Getting an up close look at the roasting process was a special treat. I visiting Stumptown Roasters in Red Hook, Brooklyn and boy did it smell fantastic! I picked the brain of Luke Dirks, the sales and wholesale account manager, about Stumptown's highly-acclaimed process. The icing on the cake: Luke walked me through the steps to a perfect brew, from the best beans of the bunch -- freshly ground, to filtered water, heated to the perfect temperature, and how to pour it over the grounds (no electric coffee makers here) like a pro.

It was so delicious I didn't need to add anything. But I don't get to Stumptown every day. For your daily cup of Joe reach for organic skim or soy milk for a healthy dose of protein and calcium, skip the sweetener and spice up your coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg – both are antioxidant-rich, and cinnamon has been shown to help you feel fuller longer and keep blood sugar levels under control.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD is an ABC News contributor and "Good Morning America" Health's Food Coach. Through her New York City-based private practice Cynthia specializes in weight management and sports nutrition. She is the nutritionist for the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, and worked with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2007-2009. She's also the Weight Loss Coach columnist for Shape magazine and a New York Times best-selling author. Her newest book, "Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches" was released by Harper Collins Dec. 28, 2010.

Click here to learn more about Cynthia Sass.

Click here to find out more about Stumptown's Brew Bar and the Ace Hotel.