cup of coffee

Besides the obvious benefit of jolting your sleepy body into caffeine-induced alertness, your morning mug of coffee or tea actually does a lot of healthy goodness for you. 

An antioxidant-rich organic coffee brew may help protect against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke, liver cancer and give your memory a boost—to name a few. Sipping on some tea, especially the green kind, may help fight cancer and heart disease, protect skin from UV damage and reduce body fat. Time for another cup, huh?

So do you have a mug in hand? Good. But what little bits did you add to that beverage before deeming it consumption-worthy? The “beverage condiments” you dump in your cup of joe or mug of tea can affect its healthiness. Fine-tune your coffee and tea drinking to make it even healthier with these easy tweaks.

Skip the sugar

Some of us are just big wusses when it comes to drinking our coffee black. We sneak in a few teaspoons of sugar just to cut the bitterness. But sneaky as we may be, we know we really don’t need the extra calories. Am I right? To curtail the sharp flavor, add a dollop of honey instead, or some spices…

Go crazy with the spices

Okay, not too crazy. You don’t want onion powder creeping into your coffee. Cinnamon, nutmeg, dark cocoa and vanilla are all good choices to add some depth to your morning cup. And your waistline will thank you for nixing the sugar and reaching for the spices.

It’s not all about flavor, though. Spices will give you other benefits too. Besides its enchanting aroma, cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar, boost cognitive function and memory, and help lower bad cholesterol. And nutmeg can help regulate your digestive tract. So get spicy, girl (or boy)!

Add a squeeze of lemon

Boost your tea’s antioxidant powers by brightening it up with some tangy lemon juice. The lemon juice will also give you a nice dose of vitamin C.

Leave out the milk

The British may love it, but studies have shown that adding milk to your tea can reduce its health benefits.

The same goes for adding cream to your coffee. It’s just adding extra calories. And say “NO WAY” to COFFEE-MATE or other non-dairy creamers. They contain a host of unnatural chemicals, corn syrup, vegetable oil and other food additives.

Check the brew time

How long you let that tea bag steep, matters health-wise. Allowing tea to steep for too long lowers the antioxidants in your cup. Ideally, tea should steep for three to five minutes.

image: OiMax

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson