Do you want to lower inflammation? Nutritionists say you should add this spice to your coffee every day
If you regularly suffer from brain fog, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, skin conditions, or an autoimmune condition, establishing daily habits to minimize inflammation can greatly improve your well-being.
Inflammation is the immune system’s response to noxious stimuli, and while it plays an important role in defending the body against these unwanted invaders, chronic inflammation can cause a long list of health problems. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, it can also lead to chronic diseases and cognitive decline. For this reason, doctors and healthy eating experts often preach the importance of building healthy habits that prevent or reduce inflammation.
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Throughout the day we engage in dozens of activities related to either preventing or causing inflammation. This includes everything we eat or drink. Foods high in sugar, deep fried, or ultra-processed have been linked to causing inflammation, while vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, and many other whole foods have been linked to prevention. What we drink also plays a role. When you pour yourself a cup of coffee in the morning, you start your day with a habit that prevents inflammation. But according to health food experts and scientific research, there’s a way to make your morning drink even healthier: add a pinch of cinnamon.
Also See: Wait, Is It Bad to Put Milk in Your Coffee?
Why drinking coffee with cinnamon can help prevent inflammation
Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD, A registered dietitian who leads a team of nutritionists in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada says cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice and is a delicious way to add a touch of sweetness to coffee without adding sugar or alternative sweeteners, both of which come with it are linked to cause inflammation.
Scientific studies show that cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, can lower cholesterol and support cardiovascular health, among other things. One reason is that it is rich in antioxidants, which protect tissues in the body from free radical damage. This in turn prevents an inflammatory response.
When you add a dash of cinnamon to your coffee, you’re adding an anti-inflammatory herb to a drink that’s already anti-inflammatory, giving you even more benefits. “Most of us see our morning coffee as a reward for getting up. It turns out that plain coffee can help reduce inflammation,” says a functional medicine nutritionist Barbara Sobel, MS, CNS, LND. She explains that this is because coffee, like cinnamon, is rich in antioxidants. “Antioxidants help scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, key components of inflammation. If we don’t have a lot of variety in our diet, coffee can become one of the main sources of antioxidants in our diet,” she says.
Related: 11 sneaky ways your coffee habit could lead to weight gain, according to nutritionists
Other ways to drink to your health in the morning
If you don’t like the taste of cinnamon in coffee, there are other herbs you can try in your coffee instead. Sobel says unsweetened cocoa powder, nutmeg, and cloves all contain phytonutrients that help reduce inflammation and can be delicious additions to coffee. You can even experiment with mixing a few to find a mix you find irresistible.
While coffee contains antioxidants that help prevent inflammation, both Sobel and Yarker say not everyone should be drinking it. “[For some people]”Coffee can be overstimulating, cause digestive problems, disrupt sleep, and increase blood pressure in people who already have hypertension,” says Sobel. For these individuals, drinking coffee can backfire and cause inflammation instead of preventing it.
If coffee isn’t for you, there are other ways to start your day with an anti-inflammatory drink. Tea, especially green tea and black tea, is also rich in antioxidants and has been linked to preventing inflammation. And since fruits and veggies are anti-inflammatory, you can enjoy a smoothie in the morning with cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, or your choice of herbs.
Both health eating experts emphasize that it’s important to look at diet and lifestyle choices as a whole when it comes to reducing or preventing inflammation. Starting the day with a healthy habit could inspire you to live a healthier life throughout the day. And besides, coffee with a pinch of cinnamon is certainly much more nutritious than a sugary specialty coffee. Sometimes simple really is best.
Next, read doctors’ tips on how to reduce inflammation in the body.
Barbara Sobel, MS, CNS, LND, Functional Medicine Nutritionist specializing in digestive, cognitive and hormonal health
Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD, Registered Nutritionist who leads a team of nutritionists in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada