There’s something about a morning cup of coffee that just does it for us. In all honesty, we go to bed dreaming of every heavenly sip! One might even say it’s responsible for kickstarting our morning routine — after all, coffee is our motivation for getting out of bed. Dramatic? Maybe. But true! Evidently, we put a lot of love into our cup. Meaning, we’ve researched the healthiest coffee hacks to optimize the benefits of our daily brew, including the top stress-fighting ingredients to mix in.
While some advocate against morning caffeine, one cup of coffee in the morning isn’t always a bad thing (more on this below). With the right swaps and the right add-ins (we’re looking at you, stress-busting foods), that morning cup of joe can actually become a healthy part of your morning ritual. We’re showing you how with four stress-fighting ingredients that are sure to uplevel that morning brew.
But First, How Much Coffee is Too Much Coffee?
But wait, I thought our morning cup of coffee was brewing up trouble for our health? Well, like most things, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. While some of us experience caffeine-induced jitters, others experience a boost in energy, motivation, and even happiness! The important thing to consider is what’s going into your cup, and how often you’re refilling it.
So, if you find coffee complements your morning routine and you’re not one to experience the jittery effects, one cup isn’t something to sweat over.
In fact, some research suggests that coffee even offers some impressive benefits thanks to its high antioxidant content. The trick here is to keep the caffeine intake moderate and listen to your body. Everyone reacts to caffeine differently, so if coffee just doesn’t jive with you, you can totally use the below stress-fighting ingredients in things like decaf coffee, tea, or even blended into smoothies.
Also, check out our list of energy-boosting caffeine alternatives for more caffeine-free energy-boosting inspiration.
4 Stress-Fighting Ingredients to Uplevel Your Morning Cup Coffee
While this superfood spice is best known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, some research has suggested that curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) may also benefit the occasional feelings of anxiety. In fact, a study noted a reduction in anxiety scores in participants who took curcumin!
Tip: The bioavailability of turmeric on its own isn’t great, but pairing it with black pepper helps tremendously (thanks to the compound piperine found in black pepper). So, if you can handle a little added kick to your morning coffee, consider adding a pinch of black pepper along with your sprinkle of turmeric. Keep in mind, you only need 1/20 teaspoon to get the benefits! You’ll hardly taste it.
#2 Cocoa Powder
Yes, we’re giving you a really healthy reason to enjoy chocolate! But, we’re talking about unsweetened cocoa powder, raw cacao nibs, or 70% or darker dark chocolate (not the sweetened varieties).
There are plenty of studies out there on the benefits of cacao, and some research suggests that the flavonoids found in cocoa contain mood-boosting and cognitive supporting properties. So, to take your morning coffee up a notch, this is one of those stress-fighting ingredients we can definitely get on board with. You can turn your morning cup of joe into a mocha coffee with some unsweetened cacao powder — just use a coffee whisk, blender, or a hand-held whisk and mix away (yum!).
Over the last couple of years, it seems like we have continued to hear more and more about adaptogens, particularly ashwagandha.
Adaptogens are herbs that are thought to help the body manage stress, and each adaptogen is known to do something a little different. Ashwagandha has become super popular as you can find it in powder form to add to things like smoothies and yes, even your morning cup of coffee!
We love this stress-fighting ingredient because studies have suggested that this adaptogen may be particularly helpful for helping to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
It’s a great way to balance out your morning coffee and ashwagandha powder can even be used to make its own creamy adaptogenic tea if you’re looking for a caffeine-free beverage to start your day.
I think we can all agree, cinnamon and coffee were made for each other. I mean, the sweet, warming flavors of cinnamon spice mixed with coffee’s earthy taste… pure magic!
And, not only does this spice elevate the flavor of our morning cup, but it also enhances coffee’s health benefits. Cinnamon is a stress-busting ingredient that’s been shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties and may help support blood sugar, metabolism, and mood!
Sprinkle it over your cup of coffee in place of sugar, or make a warming cinnamon latte with coffee or espresso, and your choice of dairy-free milk.
Bonus Coffee Recipe: Healthy Whipped Pumpkin Coffee
This FitOn PRO recipe makes for the ultimate pumpkin-flavored beverage. Made with just a few ingredients, we guarantee this fall-flavored coffee beverage will be your new go-to. Want to make this tasty cup even more superior? Sprinkle in some of our stress-fighting ingredients above to keep you cool, calm, and collected with every sip.
Healthy Whipped Pumpkin Coffee
- 2 tbsp instant coffee
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice + more for serving
- 1 ½ cups oat milk
- Ice (for iced coffee)
Simply add the coffee, coconut sugar, boiling water, and pumpkin pie spice to a large mixing bowl and using a handheld mixer, or hand whisk, whip until frothy — this will take about 3 minutes. Set aside.
For Iced: If making iced, add the ice to a serving glass along with the milk and scoop the whipped coffee on top of the milk and sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice.
For Hot: Add the oat milk to a stockpot over low/medium heat and heat until warm. Pour into your favorite coffee mug and top with the whipped pumpkin coffee. Sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice.
Note: Stir the whipped pumpkin coffee into the milk before enjoying if desired and add one of the above stress-fighting ingredients for an added boost!
Other Hacks to Make Your Morning Coffee That Much Healthier
Make it Dairy-Free
Skip the heavy cream and make it dairy-free by using one of these delicious dairy-free milk options instead.
- Full-fat unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
- Oat milk
- Macadamia milk
Skip the Refined Sugar
Most of us prefer to add a little sweetness to our morning cup of coffee, but there are healthier ways besides using regular old table sugar. Here are some great natural alternatives.
- Pure maple syrup (super yummy in coffee, especially in fall-flavored beverages!)
- Honey (try a honey oat milk latte and thank us later)
- Coconut sugar
- Stevia or monk fruit sweetener for a low carb option
Add a Boost of Protein
Give your morning beverage a protein-packed boost by incorporating a scoop of protein powder! While TikTok has inspired us with some tasty Proffee (protein + coffee) recipes, we’ve been utilizing this hack for quite some time.
- Add a scoop of collagen for a tasteless protein boost. While it dissolves with a simple stir, blending it up will give your coffee a major frothy upgrade! For an even creamier treat, add a splash of oat milk or coconut milk before blending.
- Skip the sweetener in place of plant-based protein powder. Try mixing 1 cup of coffee with ½ – 1 scoop of our JS Health X FitOn Cinnamon Roll protein powder and your dairy-free milk of choice. Add a sprinkle of the aforementioned stress-fighting ingredients, and blend that baby up into a stress-busting, protein-packed beverage.
Turning That Morning Brew Into a Healthy Part of Your Morning Ritual
Coffee isn’t all bad, and for some of us, a cup a day may actually be a good thing. But, instead of loading that morning cup with tons of added sugar and heavy cream, try making it a much healthier part of your morning ritual with these four stress-fighting ingredients.
Better yet, sip on your up-leveled morning cup of coffee while listening to a motivational podcast, reading a personal development book, or just sitting on your porch and practicing some deep breathing before the to-do’s of your day gets rolling.
Remember that a healthy and balanced lifestyle doesn’t always mean that we have to eliminate things we enjoy from our daily routines (i.e., coffee). But, we can find healthier ways to include them in our daily rituals.