“What spices or herbs bring the most beneficial health effects to coffee?”
Best spices for coffee
I have tested many spices, herbs, supplements and even mushrooms with coffee. Here I share the best ones which makes coffee taste better and improve its benefits while reducing negative effects.
L-theanine is a familiar social anxiety and fear relieving pill. Coffee is perhaps the world’s most famous refreshing beverage that enhances attentiveness and keeps you awake longer. However, coffee causes nervousness and restlessness for many people.
Studies have proven that L-theanine relieves the negative aspects of coffee while enhancing the positive effects.
Caffeine improved subjective alertness at 60 min and accuracy on the attention-switching task at 90 min. The L-theanine and caffeine combination improved both speed and accuracy of performance of the attention-switching task at 60 min, and reduced susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task at both 60 min and 90 min. These results replicate previous evidence which suggests that L-theanine and caffeine in combination are beneficial for improving performance on cognitively demanding tasks. – Study
“Caffeine led to faster digit vigilance reaction time, improved Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVIP) accuracy and attenuated increases in self-reported ‘mental fatigue’. In addition to improving RVIP accuracy and ‘mental fatigue’ ratings, the combination also led to faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy. ‘Headache’ and ‘tired’ ratings were reduced and ‘alert’ ratings increased. There was also a significant positive caffeine x L-theanine interaction on delayed word recognition reaction time. These results suggest that beverages containing L-theanine and caffeine may have a different pharmacological profile to those containing caffeine alone” – Study
You can find more information about L-theanine here: L-Theanine Benefits & Experiences – From Shy To Confident?
Having one of the highest ORAC values (131,420 μ mol TE/100g, seventh on the list of highest antioxidants in the world cinnamon makes itself excellent addition to a coffee for health conscious people.
Cinnamon might be a life-saver especially if you are consuming sugary pastry with your coffee. According to studies cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose, which leads to smaller peaks in blood sugar, therefore, lowering the amount of insulin in the blood.
Learn more about cinnamon by reading: Cinnamon Benefits – One Of The World’s Healthiest Spices
You should consider trying out xylitol if you are using sugar or any other sweetener in your coffee. Xylitol has only 7 glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar as bad as refined sugar which GI is around 70.
Also, there might be some dental health benefits associated with xylitol. Which is why dentist almost all over the world are recommending xylitol for better teeth health. It is widely believed that xylitol does this by changing the teeth & mouth bacteria, which will improve teeth health by reducing dental caries. To get the greatest dental health benefits you should consume xylitol about 3-5 times per day altogether for 5 grams. Putting it in your coffee makes an easy frequent way to enjoy the benefits of xylitol. When it comes to xylitol the problem is taking it often enough and this coffee habit will take care of it nicely.
Of course, you should keep in mind that new meta analysis pointed out that xylitol and its dental health benefits are not as good as it’s universally believed. So if you have bad teeth health, do not imagine that xylitol magically cures your teeth.
Be careful when choosing your xylitol products. You should always choose high-quality xylitol delivered from birch trees. As these days you can not really know what that cheap gmo-corn xylitol from China contains. I am personally using this xylitol made from birch trees.
But after all its way better choice than refined sugar as it doesn’t cause a huge spike in your blood sugar (if you are man: look what sugar does your testosterone levels).
Nutmeg is wildly know its ability to cause psychoactive effects with high doses, but is also touted as aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory and pain reducing. But if you look studies done on a nutmeg, the only benefit that seems to have some evidence is aphrodisiac (1, 2).
I have noticed way higher sex drive using just little amounts of nutmeg and cloves in my coffee and even some pain relief after having sore muscles from the gym.
I suggest using just a small amounts of nutmeg (1/5 teaspoon max) as there are several side-effects like dizziness, nausea, brain fog and hangover, delirium like symptoms with larger doses.
Cardamom is an important part of famous Arabic coffee recipe, and it gives coffee awesome gingerbread taste. There are many sites that claim cardamom to have several health benefits, but studies are still very limited to test-tubes (in vitro) and animal studies. And honestly, I don’t even care its health benefits, as it just makes the coffee taste good.
For adding cardamom to coffee it’s best to choose grounded organic cardamom. I am personally using this organic cardamom.
Carnitine is an amino acid which is found from mainly meat products, but also the human body can produce it from lysine and methionine amino acids. The body converts carnitine to an Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), which is relatively well-known brain function enhancer. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is able to bypass the blood-brain barrier more easily, which is why most people use it when they want to improve brain function. In animal studies Acetyl-L-Carnitine is found to improve learning and slow deterioration of cognitive abilities, increase serotonin in the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, as well protecting against the harmful effects of an alcohol.
Human studies are still scarce, but by now Acetyl-L-Carnitine has been found to ease fatigue, slow down decrease of cognitive abilities caused by Alzheimer’s disease and aging and significantly reduce ADHD symptoms in children’s. There is not yet reliable studies made on healthy humans (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Acetyl-L-Carnitine benefits are not just improving the brain performance, but it’s also linked to other benefits. Studies have shown ALCAR to improve insulin sensitivity, sperm quality, nitric oxide production, and have possible pro erectile functions (7, 8, 9, 11, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15).
Acetyl-L-Carnitine seems to mainly benefit those with impaired brain function. But also younger people can use it to increase training efficiency, erection and sperm quality improvement.
ALCAR can conveniently be taken with morning coffee, albeit having pretty neutral taste it will change how the coffee tastes a little bit. By selecting a powder gets you the best value for money. The best product that I have found so far is the PrimaForce Alcar. For about 20 dollars you get about 500 doses of alcar (500mg per dose) which is enough for at least one year. Jar has a measuring scoop which conveniently allows you to take 500mg doses.
You can learn more about ALCAR by reading: Acetyl-L-Carnitine Experiences – Is ALCAR Really Worth It?
Flavonoid rich cacao
According to a new research cocoa ingredients affect the brain, improving mood and sense of well-being. Making cacao enriched coffee is excellent way to combat afternoon fatigue and bring inspiration to daily life.
The flavonoid-rich cacao is not for just improving mood, as in a new study it was noted that cacao been shown to reduce wrinkles and make skin more elastic. For best results, you should alway choose a non-alkalized flavonoid-rich cacao. You can identify non-alkalized cacao from its bitter taste, which means that it has more health beneficial flavonoids (1)
Personally I am a big fan of the CocoCardio. It’s made from 100% non-alkalized flavonoid-rich cacao. And for further benefits they added beetroot extract and hibiscus extract to it. I have to point out that CocoCardio has a really bitter taste which why you might need to add some sweetener to your coffee (make sure you use healthy sweetener).
The mushroom called Hericium erinaceus is better known as the “Lion’s Mane”. It’s touted to enhance brain activity and protect nerve cells, although current studies are still in the early stages. Lion’s Mane brain boosting activity effect is apparently based on its ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) mRNA expression.
This theory was tested with mices:
“Furthermore we examined the efficacy of H. erinaceus in vivo. ddY mice given feed containing 5% H. erinaceus dry powder for 7 d showed an increase in the level of NGF mRNA expression in the hippocampus. In conclusion, H. erinaceus contains active compounds that stimulate NGF synthesis via activation of the JNK pathway; these compounds are not hericenones.” – Source
Because human trials are still limited, it’s healthy to have some skepticism with Lion’s Mane. If you want to learn more about Lion’s Mane benefits and tips using it see: Lion’s Mane Experiences (Hericium Erinaceus)