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Collagen in your coffee? It can be beneficial, along with these other add-ins

During a recent lunch, my friend Toby told me her brother-in-law adds collagen powder to his morning coffee and she was wondering if it would be useful for her.

That led to a discussion on potentially beneficial add-ins to that first cup of Joe. I love coffee so my first rule would be don’t add anything for a potential health benefit if it minimizes flavor enjoyment. That said, there are ways to perk up the first cup.

So, what about the collagen? Collagen is a protein made by the body from the essential amino acids proline and glycine with an assist from copper, zinc and vitamin C.

One-third of the body’s protein is collagen. It is the primary protein in skin and also in bone, muscle and blood. It strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments, helps blood clot and assists in replacing dead skin cells. Collagen supplements come from the collagen of animals like cows, pigs and chickens.

There is evidence that collagen supplements could help keep skin hydrated and relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Other potential benefits, still being studied, are stronger bones, thicker hair, increased skin elasticity and healthier nails.

If someone wants to add collagen powder to coffee and the taste is acceptable, there is no down side. As a personal experiment, I added a spoon of chocolate-flavored protein powder to my coffee this morning. This was my substitute for collagen and it was tasty.

Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg can also add a flavor zip to coffee. These three spices are anti-inflammatory, and can boost the immune response. Cinnamon also helps with blood sugar control. The small amount of the added spice to coffee probably won’t reach a therapeutic level but add them to other foods during the day and you could benefit.

Another add-in that works well in coffee is pure vanilla extract. The health benefits of vanilla extract are anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. All of these add-ins could help reduce added sugar in coffee, which is beneficial cup after cup.

Sheah Rarback
Sheah Rarback

Sheah Rarback MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice in Miami.