Let’s face it — for most of us, that morning cup of coffee is one of the most consistent parts of our morning routines. It ranks in importance right next to brushing our teeth and getting ourselves ready for work. If this sounds like you, we’re not here to tell you to ditch the morning caffeine fix. In fact, one cup of coffee in the morning isn’t always a bad thing, especially with the addition of some healthy stress-fighting ingredients and healthier swaps. Plus, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t always mean we have to completely do away with caffeine.
With the right swaps and the right add in’s, that morning cup of joe can actually turn into a much healthier part of your morning ritual. We’re showing you how with three stress-fighting ingredients that are sure to uplevel that morning brew.
But First, How Much Coffee is Too Much Coffee?
But wait, aren’t we suppose to be dropping the caffeine habit and looking for caffeine alternatives? While some of us may feel less jittery without caffeine at all, if caffeine doesn’t leave you feeling too wired and it’s something that complements your morning routine, 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.
3 Stress-Fighting Ingredients to Uplevel Your Morning Cup Coffee
While this superfood spice is most well-known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, some research has suggested that curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) may also come with some benefit for 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). 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.
#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’s plenty of studies out there on the benefits of cocoa, 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 cocoa powder — just use a coffee whisk or a handheld whisker and whisk (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 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 a creamy adaptogenic tea if you’re looking for a caffeine-free beverage to start your day.
Bonus Coffee Recipe: Healthy Whipped Pumpkin Coffee
This FitOn PRO recipe makes for the ultimate pumpkin-flavored beverage. Made with just a few ingredients, this is unlike any other coffee you’ve probably ever tried!
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!)
- Coconut sugar
- Stevia or monk fruit sweetener for a low carb option
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 three stress-fighting ingredients.
Better yet, sip on your up-leveled morning cup of coffee while listening to a motivating podcast, reading a personal development book, or just sitting on your porch and practicing some deep breathing before the to-dos of your day get 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.