Four ways to make your coffee even healthier

From adding coconut oil to sprinkling in some cacao, Natasha Turner shows you how to crank up the health factor in your daily cup of coffee.

young woman, coffee, morning, breakfast, kitchen table

Photo, Getty Images.

According to the Coffee Association of Canada, more than 65 percent of adults have at least one cup of coffee daily — making it a staple for the majority of our adult population.

The health benefits of coffee are almost endless, and it can do a lot more than just wake us up in the morning.

One small study showed that coffee drinkers have improved cardiovascular health, extending their blood flow by 30 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers. And a more recent study showed that three cups of coffee per day can reduce your risk of liver cancer by as much as 50 percent.

While a strong cup of black coffee is a great way to start your morning, we thought we’d show you a few ways to make it even healthier. Read on for our favourite tips:

1. Add coconut oil to your coffee
Oil and coffee? That’s correct! It may sound a little strange, but trust us, you’ll love the flavour. We recommend adding a teaspoon of coconut oil and mixing it in very well with a small whisk to avoid it sitting on the top of your coffee. It adds a silky texture and a light coconut flavour. Just be sure you’re using pure, organic coconut oil, and nothing that’s been hydrogenated or processed.

If you’re worried about adding fat to your coffee don’t be. These medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized directly into your liver, offering an immediate source of energy to burn fat.

Read more: Think coconut oil is bad for you? Think again! >

2. Reach for whey protein instead of cream
You don’t have to be pumping iron at the gym to add this powder to your meals (although a good sweat session is never frowned upon). Several studies have been conducted by Mayo Clinic suggesting whey protein offers numerous positive effects on our bodies, including promoting muscle growth, reducing blood sugar, increasing blood levels for essential amino acids and its ability to reduce stress.

Adding a scoop of whey to your daily coffee can also keep your appetite at bay, while providing vitamins to power you forward. I suggest chilling some coffee and adding in a scoop of protein with ice cubes and blending it all together for a pre- or post-workout treat, or just your morning go-to. Not only will it give you a nice edge in the weight room, it will satisfy your hunger levels for much longer.

Read more: 10 eating habits to kick-start weight loss >

3. Sprinkle in some cacao nibs
If you think chocolate is counter-productive to your healthy lifestyle, think again. These small crunchy pieces offer loads of healthy benefits and even trump dark chocolate health-wise because of their high levels of potassium, iron and magnesium. Just be sure you’re reaching for 70-85 percent (or higher) cacao.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, magnesium is the fourth-most bountiful mineral in the human body, and plays an important role in offering more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. With 228 mg of magnesium per 100 g of nibs, it controls nerve and muscle function, and heavily protects the immune system.

Read more: Four ways magnesium can reduce health problems >

When it comes to iron, don’t just think red meat. These chocolate-tasting iron boosters offer more than 6 percent of your daily intake in just 1 ounce. With their not-so-sweet flavour, they can be sprinkled onto almost anything for a nutritional kick. Skip the milk chocolate and opt for cacao instead.

Read more: Five reasons to eat more chocolate >

 4. Twist in some citrus zest
Before you peel an orange and ditch the outer layer, think again. Hidden deep in that vibrant orange colour is beta-carotene, which feeds the body vitamin A and promotes a healthy immune system.

Peel some orange zest and add it to your cup of coffee. Allow the nutrients to steep into your coffee for a few minutes before you sip (but don’t eat the peel!).

Natasha Turner, N.D., is a naturopathic doctor and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet, The Supercharged Hormone Diet and The Carb Sensitivity Program. She’s also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique and a regular guest on The Dr. Oz Show and The Marilyn Denis Show. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.