12 D.I.Y. Flavors to Boost Your Coffee at Home
If the "best part of waking up" is a good, strong cup of coffee, then you're in luck. Coffee is one of the healthier beverages out there; the caffeine stimulates your mind and metabolism while the antioxidants help your brain and body thrive. That said, all of the extra frou frou ingredients—like syrups, sugar, creamers, and whipped topping—can add hundreds of calories to your coffee and cancel out all the health benefits. But you don't have to sacrifice taste for health; we've rounded up some of the best healthy boosters for your coffee that won't break your caloric bank. If you aren't convinced you need these below ideas in your life, then these 20 Coffee Drinks with More Sugar Than a Can of Coke will change your mind!
Adding coconut oil to coffee was made famous by David Asprey's "bulletproof" recipe—and for good reason, since coconut oil is a known fat burner comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that are shown to increase calorie burn. Plus, the fat in the oil add a satiating taste to coffee, cutting down your hunger pangs for hours post-breakfast. This is just a couple of the many benefits of coconut oil!
Real vanilla extract—not the imitation stuff sold cheaply in grocery stores—is not only delicious but is full of brain-friendly compounds shown to boost mental performance as well as mood. Vanilla extract is also a natural solution for alleviating stomach pain, as well as joint pain and stress.
Jonesing for a bit of chocolate, but don't want to spend the cash—and the precious calories—to get a chocolate latte? Add a sprinkle (or three) of antioxidant-rich cocoa powder to boost the anti-inflammatory benefits of your morning brew. Cocoa is also bursting with polyphenols and flavanols, two compounds shown to help protect the heart.
Dairy-based creamers are the most popular used in coffee and lattes, but it's shown to have a negative impact on your weight. Instead, opt for coconut milk. Made from the meat of the drupe, coconut milk is the most like dairy milk with its high fat content rich in medium-chain triglycerides and creamy consistency. It's also chock-full of vitamins like B12. Almond milk
Cardamom is a spice with roots in the Middle East, India, and Asia that's known as the "queen of spices" because it's so valuable. The reason (besides being expensive) is that it's used in Ayurveda and Ancient Chinese medicine because of its health benefits. About those health benefits: Cardamom is shown to alleviate intestinal and cardiovascular problems, along with urinary issues. The spice is also known as an aphrodisiac, giving a whole new meaning to "caffeine jolt."
A few sprinkles of cinnamon makes coffee the best kind of spicy without adding any extra calories. What it does add, however, is a huge amount of antioxidants shown to level off blood sugar better than some older diabetes drugs. It also keeps insulin from spiking, meaning you won't have the crash-and-burn feeling you get from sugar-boosted coffee drinks.
Sprinkling cayenne into your coffee will definitely add a kick to your morning. Adding a very, very (did we mention very?) small dash of cayenne to your coffee boosts not only the taste but the health benefits, too. Cayenne contains capsaicin, a compound shown to boost circulation and heart health. It's also shown to help improve or prevent Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
The sweet taste of maple syrup makes as good of a topper for your coffee as your waffles. The sap from Maple trees contains high levels of antioxidants and nutrients like zinc and manganese, both shown to help boost the immune system and improve heart health. Speaking of waffles, though, don't miss these 20 Healthy Ways to Trick Out Your Waffles!
Ginger probably isn't on your radar as a tasty coffee additive, but it should be. Stir in a bit with your coffee to create a drink that'll make you think of your favorite gingerbread treats. And, of course, it's healthy; ginger soothes upset stomachs, alleviates inflammation, and eases the pain of arthritis. A study published in the journal Herbal Medicine also showed that ginger can decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
Hazelnuts are full of healthy fats and antioxidants, along with phenolic acids and flavanols that are shown to protect against cancer and heart disease. The oil is easily absorbed into the body and is believed to boost heart health and lower cholesterol while it keeps blood sugar in line. Oh, and hazelnut oil is a common ingredient in many anti-aging products—so it might even help you turn back the clock just a bit.
We know it's tempting when it's the holidays, but the pepperminty syrups used in coffee shops aren't exactly healthy. So, bypass all the bad stuff and go directly to the source: peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is known for its ability to soothe heartburn, settle a stomach, and alleviate inflammation. Bursting with nutrients like iron, calcium, and magnesium, peppermint oil is also shown to relieve stress and boosts brain activity. Add a few drops to your cup to taste.
Sugar is absolutely horrible for your body, but stevia is just as sweet and is shown to have health benefits. Derived from the leafy plant native to South America, stevia is shown to help lower blood pressure and level-off blood sugar. Just don't go crazy; a little stevia goes a long way.