Elevating Your Morning Brew: The Synergistic Health Benefits of Adding Cardamom and Saffron to Coffee

February 12, 2024 7 mins to read

In this article I’m going to explore an Arabic inspired healthy coffee recipe that’s loaded with health benefits, and may just be the healthiest way to drink your coffee! Health-Boost your daily coffee with two of the world’s most esteemed spices: cardamom and saffron and add turbocharge energy and brain function with a squirt of MCT oil. Let’s look at the health benefits of this coffee, spice and MCT oil elixir!

A Note on Free Radicals

It’s important you understand what free radicals are because they are talked a lot about in this article…. “Free Radicals” are like mercenary molecules (they have unpaired electrons) which can essentially become bad (e.g. cancerous) molecules or good molecules depending on who it gets that electron bond from. The presence of free radicals causes what’s called “oxidative stress”. The high reactivity of these free radicals can lead to cell damage, contributing to the development of various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as to the aging process. Antioxidants work by essentially donating an electron to free radicals, thereby neutralizing their reactivity and the potential oxidative stress they could cause.

Understanding the Components

Here we’ll break down each component: coffee, cardamom and saffron as well as the health benefits of each:

The Jack of all Trades: Coffee

Coffee, as we know, is more than just a stimulant. It’s a multi-faceted beverage with over a thousand bioactive compounds, including a significant amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants are vital to neutralizing free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, and potentially lowering the risk of several diseases. Moreover, coffee has been linked to improved cognitive function, metabolic rate, and even a reduced risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Just make sure you drink it without milk, which can reduce it’s antioxidant power.

The Spice of Life: Cardamom

Moving on to cardamom, a spice revered for its aromatic seeds that come with a host of health benefits. Cardamom adds it’s own antioxidants to coffee, further enhancing it’s free radical eradicating and anti-inflammatory properties. It also aids in digestion, can help lower blood pressure, and even supports oral health. Integrating cardamom into our diet, or in this case, our coffee, can amplify the health benefits received from our daily cup of joe.

The Golden Spice: Saffron

Saffron, known as the golden spice, is distinguished not only by its distinct red color (creates a vibrant yellow tea) and flavor but also by its impressive array of health benefits. Saffron is well studied for its mood-enhancing properties, attributed to compounds such as crocin and safranal. Some studies have even shown saffron can be more effective than SSRI antidepressants on virtually every measure e.g. mood and depression, without the side effects.

The Brain Booster: MCT Oil

Studies show MCT oil, which is extracted from coconut oil, can help slow cognitive decline such as memory loss and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. MCT oil goes to the liver where it is quickly metabolized to create ketones, an instant source of energy for your cells, which includes your valuable brain cells. Dementia and Alzheimer’s is now established as “type 3 diabetes”, which means brain cells can have insulin resistance and and inhibited ability to get in glucose for energy use, which can lead to brain cell death. By providing your brain cells with an alternative source of energy in the form of Ketones, you can help mitigate that brain cell death.

Synergistic Effects on Health

When we combine coffee with cardamom and saffron, we turn our cup of joe into a daily health boost! This synergy of these spices with coffee, not only enhances the flavor profile but also amplifies the health benefits into a truly healthy coffee.

Antioxidants Galore | Healthy Coffee

The combination of these three ingredients results in a healthy coffee with a heightened level of antioxidants; coffee, saffron and cardamom all contain antioxidants. This enhanced antioxidant capacity can more effectively combat oxidative stress and inflammation; driving forces behind disease. This duo of spices with our coffee therefore offers greater protection against chronic diseases.

Mood and Brain Booster | Healthy Coffee

The studied mood-boosting effects of saffron, coupled with the cognitive benefits of caffeine and MCT Oils, create a brain boosting trio, that not only elevates mood but also improves mental clarity and focus. This can be particularly beneficial in the morning, setting a positive tone for the day ahead. I’ve personally been taking saffron for just under a year, and it always improves my mood; sometimes within the hour and other times it takes a bit longer, but it works without fail.

Digestive Health | Healthy Coffee

I tell people the vast majority of health issues have as contributor, digestive issues. Cardamom’s inclusion into this health boosting Arabic style coffee, adds digestive benefits to the mix, complementing coffee’s natural ability to stimulate digestion. MCT oil can also help to pull and cleanse toxins from the digestive tract, and helps combat things like candida overgrowth – helping to balance the gut microbiome. This combination can promote a healthier digestive system, making it a thoughtful choice for those looking to support their gut health.

Simple Recipe for a Truly Healthy Coffee

To incorporate this healthy coffee into your routine, here’s a straightforward recipe:

  • Brew 1 cup of your preferred coffee.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom and a pinch of saffron threads (around 5-7 threads) to the hot coffee.
  • Stir well to ensure the spices are fully integrated.
  • (optional) Sweeten or add milk as desired – I don’t recommend adding milk nor alternatives because they can reduce the antioxidant value of the drink.
  • (optional) Add a squirt of MCT oil (1tsp) either in your drink or the snack you normally take with your coffee.

Educational Takeaway

Incorporating cardamom, saffron and MCT oil into your morning coffee is not just an opportunity to dazzle the senses with your daily cup of joe, but also a very effective way to boost the health of your drink. In habit formation we call this habit stacking, where you attach healthy habits into ones you already do, in this case since you are going to have a coffee anyway, you add some other healthy ingredients to have with it each morning; an easy way to health boost your daily diet. This practice underscores the importance of considering the nutritional and health impacts of what we consume daily and looking at ways to enhance the health positives, of our daily go to dietary choices. As we’ve seen, even small adjustments to our routine can have significant positive effects on our well-being.

In conclusion, let’s remember that nutrition and health are not just about the macro (big) components of our diet but also about the subtle, yet powerful, effects of our little daily routines, including the spices and ingredients we often overlook. By making informed choices, we can transform simple daily habits into acts of self-care and wellness. I encourage you all to try this elevated morning brew! Your body and brain will thank you for it!


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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