Most everyone drinks at least one cup of coffee a day, and sadly, most of those people are likely adding ingredients to their coffee that demote their health. Sugar, full-fat cream made with conventional dairy milk, butter, or creamers made with corn syrup, palm oil or artificial ingredients all contain harmful properties that are no way to start out your day despite that they make tasty cups of coffee.
All of these ingredients can disrupt normal hormone patterns including insulin and cortisol, two of the most important hormones when it comes to your weight, blood sugar levels, stress levels, and overall energy levels. Certain fats and types of sugar can also increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But don’t worry just yet—you can still have your daily cup of coffee and enjoy it thoroughly. You can even benefit from it tremendously if you choose health-boosting ingredients to add to your coffee!
But first, let’s look at the benefits of black coffee to see why coffee is worth your time drinking in the first place …
The Health Benefits of Drinking Black Coffee:
There are substantial health benefits behind drinking black coffee, one of which is better liver health, another is the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, and another notable benefit is improved insulin levels due to the way coffee reduces insulin swings pre and post meal time.
Coffee can even give you a needed boost and enhance brain focus, not to mention, it’s been proven to improve workout performance and stamina for avid exercisers. However, whatever you add to that cup of black coffee makes all the difference in what it does for you or how it works against you the rest of the day.
What to Keep Out of Your Daily Cup of Coffee:
When you add sugar, excessive fat—or worse—both to your coffee, you’re setting your blood sugar levels up for major trouble. Artificial sweeteners and sugar have also been shown to alter gut bacteria levels that can lead to weight gain over time. Yikes!
Consider this: The more you add to your coffee, the less effective it is at doing its “job” at enhancing your brain health and body health. Keep your coffee simple or just add some healthy, simple ingredients in your coffee instead.
Health-Boosting Ingredients to Add to Your Coffee … That Actually Taste GOOD!
Why not add some of the following health-boosting ingredients into your next coffee cup before you make your first brew each day. Or, if you know someone who loves coffee and could use a bit of a java upgrade, consider sharing these healthy-boosting ingredients with them!
1. Alcohol-free, liquid stevia
This is as pure of a sweetener as you’ll find that doesn’t contain any sugar, calories, or artificial ingredients. Alcohol, pure, liquid stevia is basically just stevia leaf that’s been extracted through a chemical-free water process. It’s like soaking the leaf at home yourself and extracting the soaking water—that’s it.
Stevia herb comes from a member of plants in the same family as a flower you may be familiar with—the chrysanthemum! The actual herb itself is quite pretty and has a flowering white bud. It originates in South America, and it’s well-known and used there as a part of the culture. There it’s referred to as “sweet leaf” which many stevia companies now market stevia as.
When you go to purchase stevia, look for companies that use truly natural flavors to make flavored stevia (not ones made with MSG, gluten, soy, etc.), or you can buy plain stevia. A very, very tiny drop will go a long way to reducing your sugar cravings by giving you that sweet taste without the sugar or chemicals that trigger sweetness and lead to overeating like artificial ingredients can.
Stevia has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, reduce harmful bacteria in the body, and help individuals lose weight over time by reducing their intake of sugar and reducing the desire to eat sweets.
But once again, quality matters. Choose a brand that’s well-known for their stevia, not a generic brand at the supermarket with added fillers. The only ingredient should be stevia and pure water for liquids and only stevia if you buy a powder form.
2. Cocoa or cacao powder
Let’s say you love drinking mocha daily, well now you can! By blending your hot coffee with a little cocoa powder or raw cacao powder (and stevia if you want sweetness), you can have a mocha right at home.
Cacao is the raw form of the cocoa bean (also called cacao bean), and plain cocoa powder is the heated form. Both are significantly beneficial to overall health, so choose whichever one you enjoy. Generally, cocoa powder is lower in calories per serving because less carbs and fat remain after the heating and processing of the bean.
Cocoa powder is filled with many similar antioxidants that coffee contains, and it’s also one of the best foods you can eat to boost heart health because of its effects on the arteries. Cocoa powder helps reduce high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and it’s been proven to improve heart health because it improves arterial flow.
Cocoa and raw cacao are also major mood boosters thanks to being high in natural properties that trigger happiness and positivity in the body. Just be sure to purchase a high-quality brand made without sugar when you have the option no matter if you choose cocoa powder or raw cacao powder.
Lastly, cacao and coffee are both high in magnesium, a mineral that is critical to your health. Magnesium is a mineral that improves nervous system health, digestion, reduce sugar cravings, brain health, heart health, and it’s responsible for over 300 enzymatic properties in the human body.
The bottom line? Pairing coffee and cacao (or cocoa) together can dramatically improve your cup of coffee, all in one step!
Last not certainly not least, cinnamon is one of the simplest and healthiest foods you can add to your coffee. Just a sprinkle can provide a little sweetness, warmth, and even reduce your insulin levels.
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce the risk of high cholesterol and insulin resistance. Cinnamon also contains natural properties that can assist with digestion which can be helpful if you’re having your coffee with breakfast or another meal and want an added boost of digestive support.
Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter flavor than regular cinnamon which can be helpful if you don’t want too much spice in your cup of coffee. Some studies show it is also safer than Cassia cinnamon (the type found in most stores).
To use cinnamon in your coffee, add a touch of stevia and cocoa to your cup of coffee with a little bit of cinnamon, blend all that up, and create your own healthy coffee concoction at home!
What about the creamer?
Many of you may be wondering what in the world you’re supposed to do without your creamer. If you can’t fathom drinking your coffee black or without cream, have no fear!
Here are some healthier options to high-fat cream, butter, and oil-based or artificial ingredient-filled creamers on the market:
- unsweetened non-dairy fortified milk (good source of calcium, Vitamin B12, and low in fat and free of sugar) See tips for how to choose one here!
- plain coconut milk (rich in MCT fats that can boost liver health and has a rich feel just like dairy cream without the cholesterol)
- coconut butter (blend one teaspoon with the coffee to get a natural type of cream)
- dairy-free (vegan) unsweetened creamers made without artificial ingredients (not the healthiest option, but these are cholesterol-free and great for convenience so long as they’re free of added sugar and low in oil-based fats)
- organic fat-free or 1% dairy milk (keep this as a very last option since many people are sensitive to the lactose in milk and milk sugars can still spike insulin levels leading to weight gain and poor health)
Have fun creating your own healthy coffee beverages made with these health-boosting ingredients to add to your coffee, and remember to help your cup of coffee work for you, not against you and your health!
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