The No. 1 Reason You Should Keep Using Regular Milk in Your Coffee, New Study Says

Research says adding milk to your coffee may boost your health.

If you love a morning cup of joe (or three), you're in good company. According to researchers, 75 percent of people in the U.S. drink coffee daily. And now, there's good news for those who enjoy adding a splash of milk to their morning java.

While many people are turning to plant-based milks such as oat, almond, and soy, adding regular old cow's milk to your coffee may offer a surprising health benefit that plant-based milks don't, according to a new study.

Read on to learn what happens to your body when you take your coffee with milk, and how it may boost your health.

READ THIS NEXT: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Coffee for a Month, Doctors Say.

Chronic inflammation is the root of many health problems.

Person with Chronic Inflammation
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Chronic inflammation is the driver behind many diseases and ongoing health issues. According to Novant Health, chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells (including tissues and organs) and DNA if left untreated, causing a myriad of health problems. In addition, chronic inflammation can lead to the development of potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, the experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report.

The foods and beverages you consume can either spike or decrease inflammation in your body. That's why it's essential to include plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits, veggies, and drinks (like coffee) in your diet to help reduce inflammation, lower your risk of chronic disease, and increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life.

READ THIS NEXT: Drinking This Popular Beverage Can Cause Liver Disease—And No, It's Not Alcohol.

A new study says adding milk to your coffee may help combat inflammation.

Adding Milk to Coffee
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A Jan. 2023 study conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that certain proteins in milk can enhance coffee's anti-inflammatory properties by binding with polyphenols (a group of antioxidants) to enhance absorption. Specifically, researchers focused on the interaction between two types of polyphenols in coffee (caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid) and cysteine, an amino acid found in milk. They discovered that immune cells treated with the polyphenol/amino acid combo were twice as effective at fending off inflammation than polyphenols alone.

Further research is required, however, since scientists haven't tested this finding in humans. "These studies will need to be replicated in animal studies, as to this point, they have only been observed in cell experiments," says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, a registered dietitian at Bucket List Tummy. "Humans don't absorb as many polyphenols, so reproducing results in humans may be more difficult. In addition, a controlled lab setting can differ greatly from fluid human beings with varying absorption rates."

Adding milk to your coffee has other health benefits, as well.

Woman Stretching for Energy in the Morning
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While adding regular milk to your morning coffee may provide some fantastic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, it offers other health benefits as well. For example, adding milk can boost your energy more than caffeine on its own since milk is high in calories and contains nutrients like carbs, fats, and protein. In addition, Healthline reports that milk is a rich source of vitamin B12 — an essential nutrient for energy production.

For those who are lactose intolerant or prefer to avoid cow's milk, research shows that fortified plant-based milks offer similar benefits.

Another benefit of splashing milk in your coffee? It has a neutralizing effect on coffee's acidity (which can aggravate certain gastrointestinal conditions) , according to a 2021 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

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With or without milk, drinking coffee can boost your health.

Young Woman Drinking Coffee
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Regardless of how you like to drink it, coffee can boost your health in other ways besides reducing inflammation. According to a 2018 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, coffee can protect your heart health and promote longevity by reducing cardiovascular disease risk. The researchers also noted that drinking coffee regularly can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases, improve asthma, and lower risk of liver disease and cancer. However, they recommended not drinking more than three or four cups daily to reduce anxiety, headaches, and jitters.

Looking for other ways to combat inflammation? Your best bet is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. The experts at the Cleveland Heart Lab recommend eating a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and abstaining from alcohol and smoking.

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more
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