What Is the Healthiest Thing to Add to Coffee?

Stir a scoop of collagen powder into your next coffee to boost health benefits.

Livestrong’s recent article, “The Only Ingredient Dietitians Want You to Add to Your Coffee,” explains that collagen is a protein found in your skin, nails, hair, and bones. Studies show a positive effect on gut health, cartilage, joints, and wound healing, says Holley Samuel, RD, CPT, owner of Fit Cookie Nutrition. In fact, collagen can help increase skin elasticity and improve its appearance, per New York-Presbyterian.

“Various brands offer different types of collagen and therefore different benefits. But one of the most important things studies show is that the quality of the supplement matters,” Samuel says. “As a dietitian, I recommend looking for grass-fed or pasture-raised sources of collagen from brands with superior quality standards.”

Begin with a half scoop or one tablespoon of collagen and see if you like it. Then, experiment with adding a full scoop. If you don’t want to alter the flavor, pick a plain, unflavored variety of collagen. Also, get quality, fully hydrolyzed collagen (more on that later) — which shouldn’t alter the taste of your coffee.

But some brands offer flavored varieties as well. If you use these, know there may be artificial flavors and added sugar.

Coffee is usually brewed at under 200 degrees F, so the proteins’ structure probably remains intact as your coffee won’t be hot enough to cause that degradation process.

Caffeine is OK in moderation, and adding collagen to your hot caffeinated beverage may provide benefits, but more research is needed.

If you’re a cold brew fan, certain types of collagen — such as fully hydrolyzed varieties — can also be added to cold drinks.

Fully hydrolyzed collagen is more bioavailable (meaning we can absorb and use it more readily in our bodies) and dissolves easily into hot or cold beverages. But partially hydrolyzed collagen, known as gelatin, is only soluble in hot beverages.

Reference: Livestrong (Dec. 28, 2022) “The Only Ingredient Dietitians Want You to Add to Your Coffee”

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