5 Ways to Make Your Morning Coffee Healthier
Coffee is one of the world’s most beloved beverages, with plenty of health-supporting evidence behind it, too. With its high antioxidant content, coffee is linked to better heart, brain, and metabolic health. As the addition of heaps of sugar, milk, or whipped cream can make your cup of joe not-so-healthy anymore, try these five tips to make a healthier morning cup.
1. Hydrate First
We know, we know — the first thing you want the second you wake up is your hot cup of coffee, but hydrating first will help you in the long run. The caffeine in coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes fluid loss and dehydration. Downing at least 8 to 10 ounces of plain water before you have your first sip of caffeine can help your body deal with the dehydrating nature of coffee.
2. Spice It Up
Not only do spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves make your coffee taste and smell amazing, they also make it healthier. All of these spices are rich in antioxidants and plant-based polyphenols. Plus, cinnamon helps with blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for metabolic health.
3. Go Natural
Ditching the artificially sweetened creamers and sugars is another healthy tip. Despite being calorie-free and sugar-free, artificial sweeteners can increase cravings, disrupt the gut microbiome, and dysregulate blood sugar metabolism. Instead, try a smaller amount of real sugar (see below) or natural sugar substitutes, like stevia or monk fruit. If you’re a fan of dairy, opt for grass-fed and organic milk or cream in your coffee instead of artificial creamers. Or, try plant-based “milk” and creamers made from almond, coconut, cashew, or oat.
4. Cut Back on Sugar
Most people consume more sugar than they need — and coffee is no exception. An average medium-sized flavored latte can add up to 50 grams of added sugar, double the recommended amount for a whole day. If you’re having trouble parting with the sweet taste, gradually wean yourself off by reducing the amount you add each day. Try to use just one packet, or one teaspoon, of sugar — or none, if you use sweetened milk or creamer.
5. Don’t Overdo It
No matter how tired you are, consuming excessive caffeine is not healthy for us. In the short term, it can cause irritability, anxiety, jitters, and digestive upset. In the long term, excess caffeine can cause heart rhythm disruptions, high blood pressure, and insomnia.