If you’re looking to add an extra health kick to your coffee but still want it to look like, well, coffee, try sprinkling in some ashwagandha powder. You may want to combine this with some cinnamon and coconut oil since it can have a pretty strong flavor, but some people are swearing by this adaptogen trend. While it’s used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine, mainstream health connoisseurs are starting to use it more and are noticing that it may help reduce stress and possibly even increase physical stamina.
Do you drink your coffee first thing in the morning? You may want to think again.”Caffeine causes sugar to release into the bloodstream, creating a spike in insulin and a resulting drop in blood sugar,” says health coach and nutritionist Kristie Santana. “This will cause your body to require even more sugar, which will lead to food cravings.” Additionally, studies have found that drinking coffee first thing in the morning interferes with our bodies’ production of cortisol, which can increase your tolerance to caffeine and make you more reliant on the drink.
When you’ve ordered a latte or a cappuccino at Starbucks, you’ve probably watched as the barista wipes down the steamer before whipping up a new cup. This is meant to fight bacteria, but you may be getting something extra in your drink that you probably don’t want. “What you don’t realize is that sanitizing solution ends up in your frothed milk! It’s not a ton, but it is there—a small amount on that wand for every frothed carafe! So avoiding lattes is a good choice if that concerns you,” Immer says. Or just prepare yours at home to make sure you’re not getting more than you bargained for. This is the healthiest coffee you can drink.
One of the best tricks for slashing your sugar intake is to reach for “sweet” spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In addition to boosting flavor and aroma, spices seriously up your antioxidant intake. (Cinnamon has the added perk of helping with blood sugar and insulin regulation.) You could also try a spice combo, like pumpkin or apple pie spice, or sprinkle in raw (non-Dutched) cocoa powder, another antioxidant-rich add-in.
A number of studies have suggested that consuming caffeine can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's disease — and research published in 2012 in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology showed that a daily dose of caffeine equivalent to that found in two eight-ounce cups of black coffee can help to control the involuntary movements of people who already have the disease. (You'd have to drink nearly eight cups of brewed black tea to get the same amount of caffeine.)
After the researchers induced myocardial infarction in the mice during their experiments, the extra stores of p27 in the caffeinated cells apparently prevented damaged heart muscle cells from dying. The paper says the mitochondrial p27 also triggered the creation of cells armed with strong fibers to withstand mechanical forces, and promoted repairs to the linings of blood vessels and the inner chambers of the heart. To confirm the protein’s importance, the scientists engineered mice with a p27 deficiency. Those mice were found to have impaired mitochondrial function that did not improve with caffeine.
Love hot chocolate? Most of us have delightful memories of consuming this sugary delight in the cold months of winter. But worry not, because you can add some organic, unsweetened cocoa to your coffee, and bring back those warm memories! Cocoa has numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and a lower risk of cancer. Remember, don’t go overboard here. A small teaspoon is more than enough!
You might think that nonfat, sugar-free vanilla syrup is a healthy choice, but low-calorie doesn’t always translate to health benefits. Swinney suggests weaning yourself off sweeteners completely if you can, but if you can’t, be super picky about the additives you’re putting into your brew. “Pick organic cream to whiten your coffee or make your own packaging-free alternative milk from oats or nuts. Creamers often have artificial flavors, sweeteners, and other additives, so you’re better off using organic milk or cream plus organic brown sugar,” she says. Next, don’t miss these 13 surprising uses for coffee.
Coconut milk is the perfect add-in if you’re lactose intolerant, cutting out dairy for dietary purposes (i.e. the Paleo diet), or just want a low-calorie milk substitute. Of course coconut milk adds a light coconut flavor to coffee and lightens up your brew, but it’s also closest in texture to whole milk. You can add vanilla extract to coconut milk to create a homemade, lower calorie creamer. Just be careful and use coconut milk sparingly as it still contains a fair amount of fat.