Sometimes, all you need is a a cup of coffee to start your day positively. It tastes amazing, and it can give you that much needed boost of energy. However, it's easy for a latte to quickly turn unhealthy, so it's important to know how to make your morning cup of coffee healthier. Many times, coffee shop drinks are loaded with sugar and other chemicals, so it's essential to know how to order — or what to make at home instead.
"Coffee helps with mental clarity and focus and getting your heart pumping to increase blood circulation throughout your body," says Indie Fresh nutritionist Vanessa Fitzgerald to Bustle over email. "But many types of coffee [drinks] contain more chemicals than your medicine cabinet. It is very important to be discerning and do thorough research."
Ordering a flavored Frappuccino or specialty drink almost ensures your coffee will be filled with artificial ingredients and sugar, but you don't have to drink your coffee black to enjoy its health benefits. If you're a fan of that morning cup of joe, but want to make your latte a bit more health-friendly, try using these six tips for a more nutritious cup of coffee.
1. Add Almond Milk
"Add almond milk instead of cow's milk," says Fitzgerald. "Since most coffees already contain inflammatory agents, it's better to use almond milk rather to help lessen mucus inflammation in the body." You can pick a plain, unsweetened milk to add that lovely creaminess without any extra sugar.
2. Sweeten With Cinnamon, Vanilla, Or Cocoa
Instead of using Splenda, consider using a natural flavor that you can find in your spice cabinet, such as cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, or vanilla extract. "Cinnamon adds a nice flavor, and studies suggest it can affect blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides," says Marci Clow, MS, RD and senior nutritionist at Rainbow Light to Bustle over email.
3. Use Single Estate Beans
"Use single estate beans that are wet processed to make your coffee," says Fitzgerald. "Single estate means you aren't mixing beans from different farms, resulting in an unknown quality." Plus, according to Fitzgerald, wet processed beans produce less toxins.
4. Drink It Slowly
Avoid that anxious and jittery over-caffeinated feeling by drinking your coffee at a leisurely pace. "You may only need a small cup of joe to get your mojo moving, so allow your body to digest the morning jolt sip by sip," says Fitzgerald. However, you may want to opt for a straw or pair the beverage with water, as sipping your coffee throughout the day can actually cause decay in your teeth.
5. Drink It With A Healthy Fat
It's never a good idea to drink coffee on an empty stomach, so pair it with a breakfast or snack that's high in healthy fat to help slow the process of the caffeine from spiking your blood sugar. "This will leave you energized and satiated throughout most of the day," says Fitzgerald.
6. Use Stevia
Instead of refined sugar or sugar substitutes, opt for Stevia instead, which is the best choice of sweetener if you don't want to add a flavor like vanilla or cinnamon. "If you can’t stand unsweetened coffee, just steer clear of the artificial sweeteners for which safety has not been established," says Clow. "Also be cautious of natural sweeteners like honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc. Although 'natural' they still affect blood sugar."