Whether or not you’re a caffeine addict like me, you can make your coffee work better for you with coffee additives. In the words of Lorelai Gilmore, “Everything in my life has something to do with coffee.” It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, I fall asleep looking forward to having a cup the next morning, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find a way to sneak in another cup (or two) somewhere during the day. My love for the delicious drink started in college whenever I needed a pick-me-up after late-night study sessions, and it’s stuck with me through my post-grad life for every early-morning meeting and midday slump. What can I say? I’m loyal.
I’m not exactly proud of my caffeine dependency, but since I don’t see my two to three cups a day going away anytime soon, I want to make the most out of them by adding in some extra nutrients when possible. If you too are looking for ways to add a healthy boost to your morning drink, continue reading for easy mix-ins that will have you ditching your daily trip to Starbucks.
We’re often told that collagen is the must-have ingredient to improve our hair, skin, and nails, but the benefits don’t stop there. Collagen is also an easy way to incorporate more protein into your diet. According to Healthline, our bodies begin to slow the production of collagen as we age, so adding a scoop to your morning cup of joe can also help support important functions like tissue repair, immune response, cellular communication, and cellular migration. Plus, Jennifer Aniston adds it to her coffee every morning, and we all know she’s #goals. Collagen powder is tasteless and fully dissolvable, so you won’t even notice it in your coffee, but if you prefer a more specialty-coffee drink, whisk in some flavored collagen creamer for added taste and froth.
Cinnamon is already a pretty common coffee additive (hello, PSL season!), and for good reason. Not only does it taste like fall, but it’s also full of health benefits. According to The New York Times, cinnamon has anti-microbial properties and is full of antioxidants. A daily dose of the spice may also lower blood sugar, improve brain functioning, and aid in digestion. Sprinkle it on top for added benefits and taste.
Butter coffee, made famous by Bulletproof coffee, can have many benefits due to the healthy fats. Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof, recommends using grass-fed butter or ghee to get the most antioxidants and omega-3s out of your coffee or a coconut or MCT oil (if you avoid dairy). These healthy fats also help keep energy levels stable, meaning you won’t experience blood sugar spikes and ultimately that post-coffee crash that can come from sugary coffee drinks. Add butter or coconut oil to freshly brewed coffee and mix with a blender or milk frother to create a delicious, creamy latte.
While adaptogens have been all the rage in wellness trends, the use of adaptogens dates back to over 3,000 years ago and has been used in many cultures, including having roots in Ayurveda. While there are many different types of adaptogens, there are about six common ones with different purposes. Reishi mushrooms are calming and can help with sleep and stress, lion’s mane helps with focus and productivity, chaga supports the immune system, cordyceps can improve stamina and endurance, and turkey tail mushrooms aid in gut health. Research also suggests that ashwagandha can improve hormonal balance and has antibacterial properties. As with any change in diet or supplementation, make sure to talk to your doctor before consuming.
You don’t have to try hard to convince me to add more chocolate to my diet, but add in the health benefits, and I’m sold. Cacao dates back to early 1500 B.C. when Mayans drank cacao for celebrations and ceremonies. According to Healthline, it’s known to be rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and improve brain function. Also, did I mention it’s delicious? To upgrade your coffee, add a spoonful of cacao powder. The taste of cacao is more bitter than chocolate (because it doesn’t contain the added sugar), so add your sweetener of choice for more of a mocha taste.
This popular spice has been used medicinally for over 4,500 years and is native to southern India and Indonesia. Today, it is used all over the world for both flavor and health benefits, but did you know it’s become a common way to (literally) spice up your coffee too? According to Healthline, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It’s also full of antioxidants. Turmeric lattes (made with turmeric and milk) are also a great way to help cut down on your coffee intake while still enjoying a warm drink.
The spice cardamom comes from the dried, ground seeds of the cardamom plant and is a popular ingredient used in South Asian cooking and Scandinavian baking. While its flavor is more like mint, its benefits are similar to those of cinnamon. It’s high in antioxidants and can also aid in digestion. Since it has a minty taste, it’s the perfect spice if you’re a fan of a peppermint latte around the the holidays, and bonus: Goodbye coffee breath!
8. Raw honey
We all know Kourtney Kardashian is a fan of the natural sweetener, and after learning more about its benefits, I can see why. It contains vitamins and minerals. The bee product is high in antioxidants and contains a variety of nutrients. My personal favorite benefit (as someone who suffers from year-round allergies) is that raw honey may help seasonal allergies, especially if it’s local.
9. Vanilla extract
Adding vanilla to your coffee may sound like an obvious suggestion, but we’re not talking about your standard vanilla syrup. Natural vanilla extract or vanilla bean (make sure it’s real, not imitation made from synthetic ingredients) contains powerful antioxidants and may provide anti-inflammatory effects. And, in addition to adding some flavor to your coffee, vanilla extract provides a dose of needed minerals to your diet in the form of magnesium and potassium.