Nothing beats the smell of coffee in the morning. The aroma of the beans and the instant caffeine hit is enough to get anyone out of bed. But coffee doesn’t just help you shake off the early morning sleepiness; it also has several health benefits.
The good news doesn’t end there either! You can make your morning brew even more wholesome by adding a teaspoon of something extra. While many rarely bother with more than a dash of milk or a spoonful of sugar, plenty of alternatives will give you a health boost and satisfy your taste buds.
In recent years, turmeric has become the go-to for healthy spices as it is rich in a compound called curcumin. This molecule is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and is associated with reducing the effect of many health issues.
If you want to add it to your coffee, you should probably add a small amount of healthy fat, such as coconut or almond milk, as this helps the body absorb the curcumin. If you can tolerate the taste, a pinch of black pepper will also boost curcumin uptake and improve the nutritional value.
Cinnamon isn’t just for a cold and frosty winter’s day. It has been used as a medicinal spice for thousands of years and is jam-packed with minerals and nutrients. Studies suggest that a regular serving of cinnamon can help lower cancer risk and boost your immune system.
If you drink granulated coffee, you could create a mix by combining a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of coffee. If you use a coffee machine or brew your own, stir half a teaspoon into your cuppa to give you all the benefits you need.
You may have seen maca in your local health store. This powder is made from the root of the maca plant and is highly nutritious with many health benefits. Studies suggest that it helps in athletic performance and sex drive and contains many essential amino acids that your body can not synthesize.
It’s best to aim for around two teaspoons of maca powder a day to give you the most benefits. Although, be warned! It has quite an earthy taste, so you may want to spread the maca out evenly throughout the day.
Raw cacao powder isn’t just delicious; it is highly nutritious, a powerful antioxidant, and has considerable health benefits. Research suggests that it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol while also having anti-depressive properties that can help regulate mood. Add that to the mouthwatering chocolatey taste, and you have the perfect coffee companion.
The recommendation is to get one tablespoon of cacao a day which could be overwhelming in a single cup. Instead, spread it out between cups, and you’ll be drinking healthy, delicious coffee all day long!
Ginger is a great way to spice up your morning cuppa. It tastes great and has plenty of health benefits to boot, with studies suggesting that it can treat nausea and muscle pain and help to lower cholesterol.
It can be tricky to add to your coffee as it doesn’t dissolve as readily as the other suggestions. You could get a packet of ground ginger and sprinkle half a teaspoon into your coffee, but for the most benefits, fresh ginger is best. It can be time-consuming, but if you finely chop or grate a teaspoon of raw ginger into your coffee, you will get the most benefits and the best taste infusion.
It’s hard to think that your morning cup of coffee could get any better! However, you can get even more benefits by adding one or more of the five ingredients above to your cuppa. If you don’t like the taste of these suggestions, they are still great additions to your diet somewhere else. But if you can get them into your routine, you can double the benefits your cuppa brings.
- “Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials” by Subash C. Gupta, Sridevi Patchva and Bharat B. Aggarwal, 10 November 2012, The AAPS Journal.
- “Mechanisms, clinically curative effects, and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil complex against three species of Candida” by Gang-sheng WANG, Jie-hua DENG, Yao-hui MA, Min SHI and Bo LI, 24 April 2012, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- “Cinnamaldehyde induces apoptosis by ROS-mediated mitochondrial permeability transition in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells” by Hyeon Ka, Hee-Juhn Park, Hyun-Ju Jung, Jong-Won Choi, Kyu-Seok Cho, Joohun Ha and Kyung-Tae Lee, 25 May 2003, Cancer Letters.
- “A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen” by Mark Stone, Alvin Ibarra, Marc Roller, Andrea Zangara and Emma Stevenson, 23 September 2009, Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
- “Chocolate and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review” by Eric L Ding, Susan M Hutfless, Xin Ding and Saket Girotra, 3 January 2006, Nutrition & Metabolism.
- “Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study—a randomized controlled trial” by Daniela Mastroiacovo, Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Davide Grassi, Stefano Necozione, Angelo Raffaele, Luana Pistacchio, Roberta Righetti, Raffaella Bocale, Maria Carmela Lechiara, Carmine Marini, Claudio Ferri and Giovambattista Desideri, 17 December 2014, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- “Acute effects of dietary ginger on muscle pain induced by eccentric exercise” by Christopher D. Black and Patrick J. O’Connor, 28 October 2010, Phytotherapy Research.
- “Investigation of the effect of ginger on the lipid levels. A double blind controlled clinical trial” by Reza Alizadeh-Navaei, Fatemeh Roozbeh, Mehrdad Saravi, Mehdi Pouramir, Farzad Jalali and Ali A Moghadamnia, September 2008, Saudi Medical Journal.