Calling all coffee and tea lovers! This article is for you if you’re interested in turning your morning cup of joe (or tea) into a nutrient-dense, health-boosting, inflammation-fighting beverage. My personal favorite is my morning first cup of black coffee and often a second cup with a scoop of collagen protein and vanilla-flavored MCT oil. It brings peace to my morning routine.
Coffee and tea consumption has been considered a health-promoting habit since ancient times. Coffee contains a wide variety of beneficial substances. It’s generally accepted that caffeine is responsible for enhancing alertness, concentration, and mental and physical performance, while the antioxidants found in coffee have a protective effect for cancer, cardiovascular, liver, and kidney diseases.[i],[ii] Similarly, studies have shown that a variety of teas may boost your immune system, fight off inflammation, and ward off cancer and heart disease.[iii] With such promising stats, let’s explore how to get the most out of these nourishing drinks!
Step #1 Purchase Mold-Free & Organic
It’s true…both coffee and tea have been found to have levels of mycotoxins present.[iv] Mycotoxins are the natural byproducts of certain fungi (mold) that may evoke a toxic response in people. Mycotoxin contamination of food is an ongoing global concern and contamination is considered an unavoidable and unpredictable problem, even where good processing practices are implemented.[v] When it comes to coffee, there are certain brands that pride themselves on selling mycotoxin-free beans (and grinds). When it comes to tea, unfortunately, it’s much harder to find a source that specifically states the leaves are free from mycotoxins, but they do exist!
Conventional crops of coffee and tea are heavily sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Click here to see a list of the most toxic chemicals used in coffee.
Purchasing organic coffee and tea is important to avoid ingesting toxic residues. Thankfully, organic options are easy to come by! Bonus if you can source organic and Fair Trade Certified™. Fair Trade Certified™ means you’re supporting responsible companies, empowering farmers, workers, and fishermen, and protecting the environment.[vi]
Plastics & other chemicals
When it comes to tea, be certain you’re avoiding plastic and bleached tea bags. Loose-leaf organic tea brewed using a reusable stainless steel tea bag is a great option! If you’re not ready for that, not to worry. Many companies are keenly aware of the consumer demand for cleaner and greener products, so you can easily find high-quality tea bags made from unbleached, natural plant-based materials (it’ll promote that right on the package!). I love Pique tea for its purity, health benefits, and ease of taking on the go.
For coffee, do your best to avoid the single-serve coffee pods. Not only are they wasteful and harmful to our planet, but the heated-up plastic can leach into your coffee, contaminating your delicious beverage. Opt for french press, Chemex, or another pour-over method to avoid plastic altogether!
Step #2 Skip the Artificial Creamers, Sugars, and Flavors
Processed creamers, artificial sweeteners, and flavors all transform these nourishing and health-promoting beverages into chemical-filled inflammatory drinks.
The next time you reach for that french vanilla creamer or sugar substitute, consider skipping to fully reap the health benefits of your morning coffee or tea.
Instead, opt for black coffee or plain tea! If this is too drastic of a change, make a shift to utilizing whole-fat organic cream, organic milk, or a clean ingredient dairy-free nut milk or oat milk. If you’d like to sweeten it up, opt for an unrefined sweetener like maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar.
Step #3 Add Health-Boosting Stir-Ins
Here’s where it gets fun! We’ve covered purchasing high-quality coffee and tea, ideally organic and mold-free, and skipping the processed and artificial add-ins. Now, let’s up-level your morning drink with some health-boosting stir-ins.
Grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen peptides help support beautiful skin, hair, and nails while promoting healthy gut and joints. Collagen peptides are unflavored and dissolve easily into liquids, making it the perfect addition to your morning beverage. [vii] I like Vital Proteins® Collagen Peptides and Organixx® Clean Sourced Collagens.
If you want to add fat in addition to a collagen protein, adding medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which are naturally occurring fats, in the form of full-fat coconut milk or oil, ghee (there is even vanilla ghee available), or Bullet Proof Brain Octane Oil. Adding a small amount of this to your morning coffee or tea can add healthy fat and brain fuel to energize you throughout the morning and reduce hunger cravings. As an added benefit to those suffering from inflammation and pain, adding MCT oil provides anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.[viii]
From Chaga to Shiitake, functional mushrooms each offer unique health benefits! Mushroom powder allows you to conveniently add the recommended dosage of functional mushrooms into your favorite brew—supporting your body’s natural functions for immunity, cognition, and energy—without compromising on flavor.[ix] Opt for organic, whole-food mushrooms that are sustainably grown. Now you’re armed with all the tools to turn your morning coffee or tea into a health-boosting beverage! By sourcing high-quality beans and leaves, incorporating nourishing stir-ins, and skipping the artificial flavors, you’re supporting your body without having to give up your favorite morning drink. This makes a great addition to your health program to reduce inflammation and pain.
[i] George, S. E., Ramalakshmi, K., & Mohan Rao, L. J. (2008). A Perception on Health Benefits of Coffee. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48(5), 464–486. doi:10.1080/10408390701522445.
[iii] Khan, Naghma, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Tea and Health: Studies in Humans.” Current Pharmaceutical Design, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055352/.
[iv] Sedova, Irina, et al. “Mycotoxins in Tea: Occurrence, Methods of Determination and Risk Evaluation.” Toxins, MDPI, 30 Oct. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266826/.
[v] Alshannaq, A., & Yu, J.-H. (2017). Occurrence, Toxicity, and Analysis of Major Mycotoxins in Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(6), 632. doi:10.3390/ijerph14060632
[viii] S Intahphuak, P Khonsung, A Panthong. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharm Biol. 2010 Feb;48(2):151-7. PMID: 20645831
[ix] Roberts, Shelly. “Mushroom Powder for Delicious Coffee with Added Health Benefits.” Om Mushroom Superfood, Om Mushroom Superfood, 27 Apr. 2021, https://ommushrooms.com/blogs/blog/mushroom-powder-for-coffee-m2.
I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.