Before your 8 am, it’s nearly impossible to think about anything but coffee, and that early in the morning, you might need some sweetener to take care of the bitterness. I know it’s so easy to reach for that cream and sugar, but there are healthy coffee additions to reap the healthy qualities of your coffee while also loving the taste.
Coffee alone has several health benefits, such as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and arthritis, but it’s easy to mask those benefits by adding excess sugar and fats to flavor your drinks.
If you’re a two (or three, or four) cups-a-day kind of coffee drinker, there are a few healthy coffee additions to make your coffee sweet and flavorful without making your nutrition suffer.
Honey is more calorie dense than white sugar, and therefore provides more energy and is easier for the body to digest. When consumed with hot beverages, it helps the body digest fats while providing a natural energy boost.
Honey is an antioxidant and contains nutraceuticals, which help to improve overall immunity by removing free radicals from the body.
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cinnamon has the highest antioxidant capacity of any other common spice. The list of health benefits in cinnamon is expansive — it does everything from reducing inflammation, to lowering blood sugar, and boosting the immune system.
Place a cinnamon stick in your coffee as it’s brewing, or sprinkle some on top of your drink to add maximum flavor. Cinnamon legit makes everything taste better, so this isn’t that hard of a switch to make.
Vanilla extract contains vanillin, which studies show can significantly decrease cholesterol levels in the blood. Not only is it great for heart health, but it can also promotes brain and mental stability. As an essential oil, vanillin is said to have aromatherapeutic effects for stress, anxiety, and overall mood.
Replace flavored creamers and syrups with pure vanilla extract for that warm, vanilla flavor without all the added sugars and fats.
Coconut milk is the closest dairy-free equivalent to whole milk in texture and thickness, and it’ll add some light sweetness to your beverage of choice. Coconut milk contains fats in the form of medium chain fatty acids, which break down into disease-fighting compounds that improve overall immunity.
It is also a great source of vitamins C, E and B, iron, magnesium, which support the bones, brain, teeth, and kidneys.
Originating from South Asia, cardamom is a spice that eases indigestion and improves circulation. Because of its wide array of health benefits, cardamom was originally used as a tool in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.
Cardamom has a strong, distinct flavor, and it takes practice to cook with it without overdoing it. Once you get the hang of it, you’re gonna love using it with flavors like ginger, cinnamon, coconut milk, and orange.
Dark chocolate reduces cardiovascular inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and improves mental capacity and awareness. Microbes in the stomach also use components of the cocoa in dark chocolate to create anti-inflammatory complexes.
Place a square of dark chocolate at the bottom of your mug before adding your coffee. Once it melts, blend, add your choice of milk or cream, and you’ll have a naturally sweet version of a mocha with the health benefits of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. This trick is healthy, I swear.
Hazelnuts contain phenolic acids and flavanols, which aid in cancer prevention, and vitamin E, which support heart health. Vitamin E also has skin and hair benefits and improves circulation and recovery. As a tree nut, hazelnuts combat heart disease due to their high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, which limit LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
Add hazelnut oil to cream or milk to make your own hazelnut-flavored coffee creamer.
Like hazelnuts, pure maple syrup contains phenolic acids (along with 13 other antioxidant compounds), which have cancer, diabetes, and bacterial prevention agents. Maple syrup contains vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, and riboflavin, however, be sure to buy it pure. Artificial maple syrup contains none of the health benefits that natural syrup is prided for.
Maple is an inexpensive and simple way to sweeten coffee while adding a distinct maple flavor. Use maple syrup to sweeten a regular cup of coffee, or get creative with a maple latte, maple cream cold brew, or a maple almond blend.
Mix a combination of these add-ins to create something special while maximizing your health. These healthy coffee additions are inexpensive and easy to find, so ditch the Splenda and the sugar-laden coffee creamers for some healthy coffee additions ingredients that’ll make your caffeine obsession a bit easier to maintain.