4 Health Benefits of Adding Milk to Your Coffee, According to Experts
Whether dairy or plant-based, adding milk can add health benefits.
The majority of American adults—64 percent, to be exact—enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day. And for many of those coffee lovers, their ritual is the same every day. Yet experts say that if you take your coffee black, there may be a few good reasons to switch up your routine.
We asked Lindsay Delk, RD, RDN, the Food and Mood Dietician, to share some of the biggest benefits of taking milk in your coffee. Read on to learn four ways that a splash of milk could transform your morning brew.
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You'll get more vitamins and minerals.
Coffee is full of helpful vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), magnesium, and potassium. It's also rich in antioxidants, which protect your cells against free radicals.
Yet if you're looking to give your morning cup of joe an added health boost, experts say milk can help. "Many people enjoy the smooth texture that milk adds to their cup of coffee, but milk also offers health benefits," says Delk. She says that a splash of added milk can provide "many vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients are vital for building and maintaining strong bones, teeth, and muscles," she tells Best Life.
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It gives your morning a protein boost.
According to the American Society of Nutrition, consuming protein in the morning confers a handful of health benefits, including helping you build muscle and lose weight. That's why eggs, with their high protein content, make a great choice for breakfast.
Milk, which typically contains eight grams of protein per cup, or one gram per ounce, is another great source of morning protein—whether it's in your coffee, oatmeal, or cereal.
It can help fight inflammation.
Delk also points out that adding milk to your morning cup of coffee may also help you combat inflammation. "Polyphenols are compounds found in plants (including coffee beans), and they act as antioxidants to control oxidative stress and inflammation," she explains. Inflammation is the culprit behind many chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
"Recent research found that when the polyphenols in coffee were combined with the protein in milk, it boosted the anti-inflammatory effects of the polyphenols. In fact, immune cells exposed to both polyphenols and protein were twice as effective at fighting inflammation compared to polyphenols alone," Delk tells Best Life.
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It may be gentler on your stomach.
When you add milk to your coffee, it also increases the pH level of your beverage, making it overall less acidic. If coffee tends to upset your stomach, stirring a little milk into it may lead to less heartburn and digestive distress.
Not a fan of regular dairy milk? Even better. Using almond milk instead of cow's milk or other plant-based milks can further neutralize the acidity level of your coffee, since almonds are alkaline. This can be especially beneficial if you happen to suffer from certain gastrointestinal conditions, according to a 2021 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.