On its own, a morning brew has been shown to reduce risks for type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s, but some believe small tweaks and additions can make a cup of black even more healthy.

TRENDS

On its own, a morning brew has been shown to reduce risks for type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s, but some believe small tweaks and additions can make a cup of black even more healthy.

February 16, 2016

Spiced Up

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom contain high levels of antioxidants, leading some people to conclude that a pinch or two in their morning joe will confer an extra health boost. Whether you would ever use enough spice to make a big impact is debatable, but it certainly can’t hurt, says nutritionist Kris Gunnar from Authority Nutrition. “Adding a small amount of spices won’t make a huge difference health-wise, but it may have a minor effect,” he says. “But the most important thing is to drink quality coffee and not ruin it by adding sugar, syrup, or an artificial creamer.”

Chocolate Shots
Cocoa is chockfull of powerhouse antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been found to decrease blood pressure, improve blood vessel health, and stabilize cholesterol levels. Also, at least one study found that drinking a flavonoid-enriched cocoa-beverage increased cerebral blood flow for up to three hours, leading researchers to suggest that the drink could help prevent dementia or stroke. Of course, the cocoa used in these studies is the non-sweetened kind, though Dark Chocolate Has 9 Legitimate Health Benefits , too.

Fat Blast

One of the hottest coffee trends out there is based on a Himalayan sherpa recipe in which yak butter is added to hot tea. Butter coffee (also known as the Bulletproof Diet coffee) blends butter from grass-fed cows and coconut oil with organic coffee, with the idea that it purportedly boosts brain function, increases energy, and kicks off ketosis, a fat-burning state typically associated with low-carb diets. And while the science for these claims is slim, some say the reasoning behind butter coffee works. “Good fats are part of a healthy diet and are good for the brain; caffeine is stimulating to the brain—there really might be something to it,” says Fort Wayne, Indiana integrative physician Jeffrey Gladd, who recommends the recipe to his coffee-drinking patients and downs the brew himself, crediting it with making him feel 15 to 20 percent more mentally alert. “When I don’t have it, I just don’t feel as sharp.”

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