Aah, coffee. Do people manage to wake up in the morning without this magical bean water? How on earth does anyone survive all-nighters and staff meetings without it?
That said, your caffeine addiction can benefit your well-being — or adversely impact your health. Many commercial frappes, for example, contain a ton of sugar and other additives that can add pounds to your waist and stress to your heart. However, java itself can improve your wellness — here’s how to put it to work for you.
1. Ditch the Flavored Creamer and Sugar
Did you know many commercial creamers possess a ton of additives? If you’re trying to eliminate ultra-processed foods from your diet, give these babies a hard pass. Your kidneys and heart will thank you, as consumption of ultra-processed foods can increase your risk of diabetes, a condition that damages both organs. Many brands also contain palm oil, a product linked to the decimation of orangutan habitats.
Many people think coffee is bad for your teeth. However, in moderation, unsweetened coffee can actually fight against bacteria and plaque buildup on your pearlies. Skip the sugar cubes. If you must add a hint of sweetness, consider a bit of honey. While the sugars can feed mouth bacteria, the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of “bee juice” help to mitigate some of the harmful effects.
2. Try Plant-Based Milk
Experts continue to disagree on the benefits of consuming dairy products when compared to the risks. Milk and cream both have high levels of saturated fat, and consumption of dairy may contribute to prostate and breast cancers. Give one of these plant-based versions a try instead:
- Almond milk: Almond milk is a wise choice if you’re watching your blood pressure. Nuts have high levels of potassium, a mineral shown to lower your numbers.
- Coconut milk: Coconut does contain saturated fat. However, it also contains medium-length triglycerides, which may have a beneficial effect on heart health. While the verdict remains out, you can enjoy this milk in moderation if you don’t have cardiovascular concerns. You can find blends of coconut and almond milk if you like a richer brew.
- Oat milk: Oat milk contains filling fiber, so if you’re in the habit of skipping breakfast, adding it as a cream can fill you up. Plus, as long as your brand is certified gluten-free, it’s safe to consume even if you have an intolerance. It also has an array of B vitamins and several minerals like magnesium.
- Hemp milk: Hemp is high in protein, which can power you through until lunch. It’s also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both critical for human wellness. No, it won’t get you high — you can find it at health food stores.
3. Add Some Herbs
Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and seen a shaker of cinnamon? You can enhance the flavor of your brew by adding the right herbs. You can also reap substantial health benefits. Consider adding a handful of the following to your grounds in the morning:
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon can sweeten your cup without added sugar. Plus, it could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One research study found that adding anywhere from one to six grams of the spice each day reduced serum glucose in middle-aged diabetics over 40 days.
- Turmeric and black pepper: This blend adds a light chai flavor to your morning brew. Plus, if you have chronic pain, you can turn to this potent anti-inflammatory combo to ease the ache. The piperine in the black pepper increases the bioavailability of the curcumin in the turmeric by 2,000%. Curcumin reduces inflammation and shows promise in treating everything from arthritis to fibromyalgia.
- Cardamom: Turkish people commonly add this spice to their brews. It has numerous health benefits, but people in the Middle East typically use it to freshen breath. Cardamom extract can decrease the harmful mouth bacteria that cause cavities, so if you can’t wean yourself away from sugar, add some spice!
4. Switch to Stevia
Stevia is an herb multiple times sweeter than sugar. Better yet, the plant may stabilize your blood sugar levels rather than cause a spike. Although it has a negligible amount of energy, it qualifies as a zero-calorie food. Some users do complain that it can taste bitter in high amounts. If you currently use sugar, try replacing it gradually with a blend of both.
Your taste buds do evolve, so try to reduce the sweetness of your brew over time. When you use just a bit of this product, you get a hint of flavor without the unpleasant aftertaste.
5. Buy Organic, Single-Estate Beans
Because of the way plants pollinate, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all traces of genetically modified foods from your diet. However, if you have concerns about GMOs, buying organic ensures the purest beans possible. They’ll also remain free from harmful pesticides.
Working conditions vary across coffee estates. If you have concerns about human rights, find a reputable estate and stick with it for buying your beans. You’ll protect laborers from unfair conditions, and you’ll guarantee that your coffee grew in similar soil and weather conditions. This consistency produces a reliably tasty cup with every pot.
Elevate Your Morning Java with These Five Tips
Coffee can pick you up and power your morning. If you’ve loaded it down with additives and sugar, though, you’re not doing your health any favors. Make your brew benefit you with a few healthy tips!