Creamer, milk (whole or skim), sugar, or even butter—you’ve probably added at least one of these to your coffee to improve its taste at some point. If you’re looking for something different, though, try a new twist with a dash of cinnamon. This sweet, sharp spice can do so much more than improve coffee’s taste, and I’ve got 10 examples for you to consider.
1. Your Coffee Will Taste Better
Obviously, dropping cinnamon into your cup of coffee will alter its taste—but it won’t leave you with the typical taste of most coffee additives. Instead, as Lifehacker reports, you’ll increase the drink’s sweetness without adding any sugary, diet-busting products. Whether you stir in a teaspoon or two of the spice or add a cinnamon stick to your cup, both methods will provide a sweet taste.
2. You’ll Increase Your Antioxidants
Antioxidants are usually associated with skincare and fruits, but cinnamon packs a surprising amount of these helpful molecules. According to a Penn State research study, cinnamon is a diet-friendly spice because of its high antioxidant content. One teaspoon of cinnamon, as Health.com reports, contains as many antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries, one of the most antioxidant-laden foods.
3. Cinnamon Puts Your Brain to Work
The caffeine in coffee may be how you get your brain up and running in the morning, but the addition of cinnamon in your mug will improve your brain’s cognitive processing, spur brain function altogether, and help you master your visual and motor responses.
According to research conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University, the simple act of smelling cinnamon helps to improve your processing capabilities—and ingesting the spice is even more beneficial. The study participants were better able to complete tasks when eating cinnamon, and improved their attention overall.
4. Cinnamon Protects Against High Blood Sugar
If you prefer something sweet in your coffee, cinnamon is a healthier choice over sugar. The spice not only avoids the calories and damaging effects of sugar, but also benefits your entire body by slowing blood sugar spikes after eating, improving the body’s insulin effectiveness, and preventing and soothing inflammation in tissues and joints, according to a University of Georgia research study.
5. Cinnamon Can Soothe Cold Symptoms
Hot drinks are a great way to soothe a sore throat, and cinnamon only enhances that pain-relieving quality. As Everyday Roots discusses, drinking cinnamon in a warm beverage such as coffee opens and clears the sinuses and reduces mucus production—two of the most annoying symptoms of the common cold. And being able to incorporate these qualities into your morning cuppa sounds like a win-win situation.
6. You’ll Get a Bigger Energy Boost
Cinnamon gives you an extra energy boost when combined with caffeinated coffee, according to the Huffington Post. While cinnamon works to keep blood sugar levels stable, it also helps to stabilize your energy levels, preventing the sugar spike and crash into fatigue that can happen thanks to meals and snacks. So, while coffee is working to perk you up, the cinnamon you add in will take charge of your food-related energy sources.
7. Cinnamon Is Good for Your Heart
In the same Penn State research study mentioned earlier, the research team discovered that cinnamon lowers your risk of heart-related ailments and illnesses. Simply put, it lowers the harmful triglycerides that cause clogged arteries and other heart-related health problems by as much as 30 percent.
8. You’ll Stop Snacking So Much
Another reason coffee is a popular morning drink is because it helps keep hunger at bay… but an empty stomach can only tolerate so much. Add cinnamon to each morning cup and you won’t crave sweet snacks as often, according to an interview with James M. Andry, MD, at Total Beauty. Cinnamon is a recommended spice for those looking to stop cravings because it stabilizes insulin and keeps levels from spiking (which is a factor in causing our hunger).
9. Cinnamon Helps Stave Off Future Sickness
In addition to helping soothe the sore throat and stuffed sinuses that come with the common cold, downing some cinnamon can help you prevent illnesses from striking by boosting your immune system. Cinnamon’s many antioxidants stop bacteria from growing, lower cholesterol, and keep the body healthy overall.
10. Cinnamon Is Full of Vitamins & Nutrients
Finally, along with all of the other helpful and healthy ingredients and attributes within cinnamon, it’s a spice that’s packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients. According to Dr. Josh Axe, one tablespoon of cinnamon holds 4 grams of fiber, 68% of your daily manganese, 8% of your daily calcium, 4% of your daily iron, and 3% of your daily dose of vitamin K. You can kill two birds with one stone by drinking coffee with cinnamon—get your caffeine fix and a great dose of your daily vitamins and supplements in one delicious drink.