The health benefits of coffee are innumerable, and it is not unrealistic to assume that researchers have yet to uncover more benefits we cannot imagine today. Coffee has been associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced depression, protection against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and a lower risk of heart disease, to name just a few known positive impacts of coffee on the human body. Turns out that little goat a shepherd boy noticed long, long ago, who was jumping for joy after nibbling on coffee berries, truly had a lot to feel cheerful about.
Humans have developed an affinity for fine flavor and aroma over thousands of years. We’ve transformed fruits and herbs into potent beverages and spices that bring pleasure to the table and good health to the body. As we become better informed about the beverages and foods we consume, it only makes sense to strive to make better choices, even above and beyond the staple products we ingest. And so now we look beyond milk and sugar to enhance and, shall we say, glorify our favorite beverage, coffee.
Here are 4 natural ingredients to add to your cup to take the health benefits of your morning java to even higher levels. You may have tried some of them, and one or two may surprise you, but you may not realize the true goodness you were gifting your body when you added hazelnut oil, vanilla extract, cardamom or even cayenne to your brew. Here’s a delicious overview.
You can find pure hazelnut oil in some grocery stores and in most health food stores. Add it directly to your cup, in small increments at first, to establish your preferred flavor strength. You can also add it directly to your ground coffee, in the hopper, just before brewing. Remember that extracts are highly concentrated. Just a few drops can convey deep flavor. Health Benefits: Vitamin E for heart health, flavanols for cancer protection and oleic acid to help regulate blood sugar. Hazelnut oil may also help reduce cholesterol levels.
There are two ways to add vanilla extract to your coffee. You can grind a whole vanilla bean along with your coffee beans (only a portion of a vanilla bean if you brew by the cup) or add a few drops of liquid vanilla extract to the hopper or directly in your cup. Start with small amounts and increase to taste. Health Benefits: Vanilla has been shown to reduce the urge to overeat and to help digestion. It has also been associated with increased mental clarity, reduced stress and improved mood.
As with vanilla, there are a couple of ways to add cardamom to your coffee. Grind a few cardamom beans along with your coffee, just before brewing or add a pinch of bottled, ground cardamom to your cup or to the hopper. Cardamom has been a favorite coffee flavoring in the Middle East for centuries, and the people of this region of the world, where coffee was first brewed, certainly know what’s good for their brew. Health Benefits: Cardamom is believed to be one of the most powerful cancer fighting spice known to date. Studies have led researchers to conclude that it has the ability to prevent cancer cell growth and possibly to kill cancer cells. It is also very rich in essential minerals, such as manganese, phosphorous and potassium.
To most people, this is the most surprising spice anyone may ever consider adding to coffee. Some even refuse to try it at first. One taste changes everything. As you might imagine though, you will really want to begin with a very small dash. Begin by adding it to the coffee grounds, so it is not concentrated in a single cup the very first time you try. Health Benefits: Research has shown promising benefits to heart and cardiovascular health. Cayenne has also been helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as the reduction of ulcers and certain cancers, especially prostate cancer.
Make sure you are drinking a high-quality, fresh-roasted Single Origin coffee when experimenting with spices, herbs and extracts. Why? For the pure enjoyment of deep flavor and aroma. Because no matter what you choose to add to your coffee, it’s about what’s in the cup and it’s about the full sensory experience of the moment.
We raise our cup to you!