I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my morning coffee. I remember my mom would drink coffee straight black first thing in the morning, and we often hear that black coffee is the “healthiest” way to enjoy the drink. But we’re here to question that advice. Is black coffee really the healthiest? Or are there ingredients to make your coffee healthier?
Someone once told me that it isn’t good to drink straight coffee, especially on an empty stomach. She preferred cream and sugar in her coffee and looking back, I now think she was onto something! Drinking coffee black, especially first thing in the morning, can overload your system with caffeine and acidity. But what is the healthiest coffee creamer? What additions to coffee add more nutrients to your coffee, not just flavor?
Like most things, we think the healthiest coffee creamer is the one you make at home. We always look for simple, whole ingredients. The coffee creamers on grocery store shelves are chocked full of refined sugar, artificial sugars, natural flavors, seed oils, artificial colors, and more. Avoid most store bought creamers. But if you aren’t drinking your coffee with a meal, it can be easier on your system to add in some raw cream or a few of the other nutrient-dense additions below.
But before we get into all the wonderful things you can add to make your coffee healthier, give it more sustenance, and amp up the benefits, let’s start with the coffee you are drinking.
High Quality Coffee Matters
There is a vast range in the quality of coffee available today, and unknowingly buying poor-quality coffee can introduce toxins to our bodies. If you’re like me and have a daily routine with coffee, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look.
Did you know that many of the coffee beans available today contain mold, pesticides, mycotoxins, acrylamide and more? It is disturbing to think that the delicious beverage you are consuming daily, and sometimes even multiple times a day, might contain toxins. Doing a little research to find coffee with the least amount of toxins is so worth it. Or, you can just keep reading (we did the work for you!).
So, what coffee is the healthiest? Coffee with the least amount of toxins tends to be organic, small batch, single origin, and whole bean. Whew! That’s a lot of descriptors, but how a plant is grown and prepared directly impacts its quality which directly impacts our health.
One of the first things I look for in coffee is that it is organic. Conventionally grown coffee is one of the most chemically treated crops on the market, and approximately 97% of the world’s coffee beans are non-organic and treated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals.
Look Out for Mold
Apart from pesticides, my biggest concern about my coffee is mold contamination. The adverse health effects of mold range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer.
Unfortunately, mold toxins are present in a significant amount of coffee. One study published by the NIH showed that when testing green coffee beans grown in Brazil, more than 90% were contaminated with mold before processing. Some governments around the world (including the EU) have instituted safe limits for one of the mold toxins in coffee in the parts per billion levels. The US however, has no established limits.
In general, coffees that are cheaper cost less because they use lower-quality beans AND they use a higher percentage of damaged beans (which are more susceptible to mold toxins). Small-batch is usually more expensive, but smaller operations are less likely to take shortcuts and more likely to care about the quality of their beans. Blends also dramatically increase your chances of getting some damaged beans, so look for single-origin coffee.
The coffee produced by large corporations is also usually old. Old coffee loses its flavor and freshness and is more likely to become contaminated. Look for bags of beans that clearly display the date the coffee was roasted, and don’t purchase beans that were roasted more than a month ago. It’s better to buy whole beans and grind them yourself–either at the store if there is a “grind your own” option or using your own coffee grinder at home.
Our Favorite Coffee
I prioritize a coffee that I can trust, and by that I mean one that third party tests for these contaminants regularly. Our favorite is Purity Coffee. Not only is it a high antioxidant and delicious coffee, it also tests free of pesticides, mytotoxins, and other contaminants. Purity Coffee is mold-free, certified organic, regeneratively and biodynamically farmed, and for me, it doesn’t cause the jitters and afternoon crash.
Of course, it is more expensive than a big plastic container of Folgers, but the differences are worth every penny. We buy the 5lb bag and have it delivered every 6 weeks to save the most amount of money. And good news! You can use code MSHF to get 20% off your first order!
12 Nutrient Boosters to Make Your Coffee Healthier
The main point that people make when arguing that black coffee is the healthiest is that it is low-fat and sugar-free. But we know that healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet, and not all forms of sugar are made equal. Plus, there are a couple other fun and easy additions that add their own benefits, like helping to regulate blood sugar or supporting your immune system.
Again, coffee creamers available in the store are filled with harmful ingredients like refined sugar, artificial sugars, natural flavors, seed oils, and artificial colors. The healthiest coffee creamers are the ones you make at home! I also like adding some less common additions to my coffee to keep it interesting and make it extra nutrient-dense.
Now, let’s dive into the amazing things we can add into our coffee to add nutrients and deliciousness!
Healthy Fats for Creaminess
A healthy fat helps to slow down the caffeine absorption so that your energy lasts longer and doesn’t crash. Plus, they are delicious! If you love a creamy flavor to your coffee, finding a healthy coffee creamer can make a big difference over time.
1. Grass-Fed Raw Cream or Raw Milk
This is my favorite. It might be as “old school” as it gets! Raw milk or cream is not pasteurized. This means it has all the beneficial enzymes that help our bodies digest milk and absorb all the amazing vitamins. Raw milk producers have very stringent sanitation standards to be sure that the milk they are selling is clean enough to not need pasteurization to make it drinkable. If you have access to raw cream and raw milk: wonderful! If you aren’t sure where to find it, check out this resource.
If you can’t find raw cream or milk, grass-fed and organic pasteurized milk is the next best. Most non-dairy milk options are full of seed oils to make them thick and creamy, and they simply aren’t as nutritious.
2. Coconut Milk
If you are dairy free or prefer a dairy-free milk for your coffee, we recommend coconut milk. Rather than the cartons at the store, which are made with seed oils, natural flavors, sweeteners and more, you can mix your own using a can of thick, real coconut milk and water. Our preferred brand is Native Forest. You can make your own coconut milk by combining one can of full fat coconut milk with 3 cans of filtered water. Just shake it before using it. If you like it thick, you can also just spoon straight coconut milk from the can into your coffee.
Coconut milk steams really well too. If you have a steamer at home, you can get this just about as frothey as a full fat milk! An amazing coconut milk latte can be as simple as steamed full fat coconut milk, raw honey, and espresso! Coconut milk is a simple, one ingredient addition which makes it a great option as a healthy coffee creamer.
3. Raw or Grass-Fed Butter
A weird one, right? But hear me out! Butter is amazing. It contains butyrate which is great for our gut and CLA which can aid in immunity. Butter also contains a good amount of vitamin A and K2. If you find yourself sitting down with a plain cup of black coffee, consider dropping a hearty chunk of quality butter in there. It gives it a creaminess that can’t be described, not to mention a hearty dose of nutrients too. This is a great option for when you run out of milk or cream; you’ll usually still have a stick of butter in the fridge.
4. MCT Oil
MCT oil is fuel for our brain. It mostly comes from coconuts and can aid in weight loss, support our gut, and deliver healthy fat for our brain to use quickly. If I have a big project I am working on, I will add some MCT oil to my coffee that day for a mental boost. It is definitely up there as one of the healthiest coffee “creamers.”
“Bulletproof coffee” has recently gained some popularity, and it’s simply black coffee with butter, MCT oil, or both. Bulletproof coffee is my go-to when traveling because it’s super simple to pack a small amount of butter or MCT oil along for the ride.
5. Hydrolyzed Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and plays a key role in numerous bodily functions. Yes, collagen is important for healthy and youthful looking skin, but collagen’s health benefits are not just skin deep. Collagen helps our connective tissue stay supple and strong. Some additional benefits include assisting in repairing and strengthening gut linings, reducing inflammation, and supporting a healthy metabolism. Now that’s a healthy coffee creamer!
You can also use grass fed gelatin, but make sure you “bloom” the gelatin in cold water before you add it to your hot drink, otherwise it will sink to the bottom and gel up there.
I love putting a scoop of collagen in my coffee. It doesn’t have much of a flavor but it adds a little more richness. When I’m using my SMEG frother, I just throw it right in the milk, and it mixes it beautifully. My favorite brand for collagen is Perfect Supplements. They test for glyphosate, and they don’t use all the annoying fillers you typically find in other brands. Use discount code MSHF10 for 10% off your order.
6. Egg Yolks
Yup! You read that one correctly. Look for organic, pastured eggs. While there is a very small risk of salmonella when eating egg yolks raw, a trusted source and clean outer shell means the egg yolk is fine to eat raw. We have been eating them for years, including my kids. Raw egg yolks are packed with nutrition and are a wonderful way to get extra vitamins A, D, E, and K. Plus it has omega 3 fatty acids in a wonderful form. I throw an egg yolk into the SMEG frother from time to time, or I just shake it up in raw cream and maple syrup for a homemade nutrient dense creamer.
Here is my quick homemade recipe for a sweet, rich creamer. You can double the recipe and use it for two or three days, but I like to make it fresh.
- ¼ cup of raw cream
- 1 tbsp of pure maple syrup
- 1 egg yolk
- Optional flavorings:
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon
- Shake in a jar for about 30 seconds.
- Pour in your coffee.
Natural Low Processed Sweeteners
Refined sugars like corn syrup, sucralose, low calorie sweeteners, and white sugar have almost no nutritional value. All the minerals have been stripped out during processing, and they pose risks to our health. Natural sugar options, on the other hand, are full of minerals, vitamins, and other benefits, and they are a great option if you like your coffee sweet. Swapping white sugar for honey or maple syrup is an easy way to make your coffee healthier and more nutrient dense.
7. Raw Honey
Raw honey has tremendous health benefits because it is loaded with antioxidants and micronutrients. It has both antiviral and antifungal properties. Not to mention, it’s great to always have raw honey on hand for sore throats and coughs, as well as wound healing! We prefer local raw honey because local honey can help with seasonal allergies.
Some of the benefits of raw honey are lost when it is heated, so try to stir it into warm coffee rather than scalding hot coffee.
8. Pure Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is also high in antioxidants and also contains nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Bottom line here is that swapping out your artificial sugar, low calorie sweetener, or just table sugar for a raw honey or pure maple syrup is a beneficial health swap.
These additions aren’t the classic creamy or sweet flavor, but they are easy to drop into a cup of coffee and boost the nutritional value of your drink! If I already have a habit of having my morning cup of coffee, I like to take advantage of stacking more nutrients into that first drink of the day.
Cinnamon is great. It has been shown to stabilize blood sugar, so it’s a wonderful addition to anything, but especially coffee. Additionally, it’s loaded with antioxidants, and can have anti-inflammatory effects. Ceylon cinnamon is considered “true” cinnamon. Our favorite is the organic ceylon cinnamon by Frontier Co-op.
10. Acerola Cherry Powder
You can add a beautiful boost of real vitamin C to any food or drink by sprinkling a bit of acerola cherry powder on it. I like vitamin C in the morning to give my adrenals some love. Too much of the powder can alter the taste of your coffee but a little sprinkle (like ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon) is undetectable in taste but loved by your body. Perfect Supplements make an organic and clean acerola cherry powder. Use discount MSHF10 for 10% off.
11. Mushroom Powder
Another option for a nourishing addition to your coffee is mushroom powder. Many swear by the magic of mushrooms and I love hearing these benefits! I’m new to mushroom powder but I’m excited to feel the difference! Medicinal mushrooms can support immunity, gut health, hormonal function, and the nervous system. Perfect Supplements has a mushroom immunity powder, and ¼ to ½ teaspoon a day is all you need!
12. Bee Pollen
Another nourishing addition is bee pollen. Some call it nature’s multivitamin because it contains B vitamins, minerals, amino acids, a bit of protein, and antioxidants. It’s a favorite to support whole body health and many cellular functions. A little sprinkle on top of your coffee is a wonderful way to enjoy this superfood. My favorite brand is Beekeepers Natural.
I love my morning coffee, and I know so many of us need it! But remember that it takes our bodies up to 10 hours to clear caffeine from our system. I have coffee earlier in the morning. I’m careful about caffeine after 11am, so it doesn’t affect my sleep routine. I also don’t give coffee to my kids.
I hope these nutrient dense additions will inspire you to move away from the processed coffee creamers and play with some healthier creamer and flavor options.
And remember that the coffee that you drink matters. Prioritize a coffee you trust that does a third party test for mold, toxins, and contaminants. Our favorite is Purity Coffee. Use code MSHF to get 20% off your first order!