Top 15 Things To Add To Bulletproof Coffee
By: Dave Asprey
October 30, 2014
In addition to putting butter in amazing coffee for years, I’ve experimented with adding other nutrients to create new flavors with a bigger impact on how I feel. It turns out I’m not alone; Bulletproof fans add a lot of creative things to their daily Bulletproof Coffee recipe. A recent thread on Facebook about this inspired me to share my own favorite Bulletproof Coffee hacks.
I’m a Bulletproof Coffee purist most of the time, yet in the morning – depending on how I feel – I’ll add other stuff to my ritual of blending in the unsalted grass-fed butter and Brain Octane oil.
Why Fat Helps You Absorb More Nutrients
Blending nutrients into your coffee (or really any beverage) with healthy fats is classical biohacking pure and simple. You’re taking something healthy and wrapping it in small drops of fat (created during blending) called micelles, which increase the absorption of the nutrients. This principle is what helps antioxidants in vegetables absorb better when consumed alongside some fat. We’re talking lipid droplet chemistry here, and you can feel the difference (plus get some awesome flavor combinations).
Without further ado, here are the top 15 Bulletproof Coffee hacks (and a bonus #16 hack too!):
L-Theanine (100 mg) is a popular supplement that works synergistically with caffeine. It’s an amino acid naturally found in tea that increases alpha brain waves. It has been shown to mitigate negative effects from caffeine, including damaged sleep quality and anxiety, while boosting the positive effects. You can also take it in a capsule in the morning along with your coffee.[i] But why not blend it in? It won’t change the taste, but it changes how you feel.
Turmeric is the popular yellow spice used mainly in Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin, which has profound anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. Adding it to your coffee will boost the total amount of antioxidants, but will diminish the coffee flavor.[ii] If you don’t like coffee, but want to drink it for the antioxidant polyphenols, turmeric erases the coffee taste. Turmeric doesn’t absorb well without fat anyway.
Ginger is rich in gingerols, and has been used for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea effects. Like turmeric, ginger will diminish some of the coffee flavor.[iii] Mix this stuff with turmeric, and you’ll taste NO coffee (but what kind of masochist would do that???), and get a powerful anti-inflammatory herbal blend.
4. Grape Seed Extract
Grape Seed Extract has an astringent, tannin flavor that’s not bitter (depending on the brand). It also has positive effects with blood cholesterol and inflammation.[iv] A pure grape seed extract can add amazing flavor notes to coffee.
5. Upgraded Collagen
Upgraded Collagen is a great addition to Bulletproof Coffee as less inflammatory protein source high in the amino acid glycine. It aids healthy tissue repair while maintaining healthy levels of inflammation and revitalizing your skin.[v] It also stands up well to the heat of coffee, which is not true of quality whey protein.
Vanilla adds a great flavor and has historically been used as a cognitive enhancer. Real vanilla (only about 5% of the “vanilla” people consume) has a super high ORAC score of 122,400. You can mix the Upgraded Vanilla in with your coffee grounds or add them after brewing.[vi]
Cayenne is well known for its health impacts, especially since it works synergistically with MCTs for thermogenesis. However, cayenne has a high risk of mold toxin contamination, so opt for a high quality source.[vii] It is also a nightshade, so it’s a suspect food on the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap. Be sure it’s helping you. And get ready to sweat!
8. Blueberry Powder
Blueberry Powder has a high amount of polyphenols as well as a high ORAC score. It also raises BDNF, which helps brain function. Remember to watch out for high amounts of fructose![viii] I use blueberry extract in the morning, or real powder in my second cup when I have one.
9. Eggs and/or Egg Yolks
Eggs, and especially egg yolks, are a good alternative as a source of healthy fats in the absence of butter. They are great sources of micronutrients like omega-3s and vitamin K2 (see below). Check out also Mark Sisson’s Primal Egg Coffee recipe!
10. Bilberry Powder
Bilberry Powder is made from bilberries, a close relative of cranberries. It can improve vision, reduce eyestrain, and support overall eye health.[ix] It’s expensive – so increase it’s bioavailability.
11. Cacao Butter
Cacao butter provides a subtle chocolate finish to your coffee. It’s also a great source of healthy saturated fats![x] It’s not a replacement for real grass-fed butter. Just add a little!
12. High-quality Chocolate Powder
Make your Bulletproof Coffee into a polyphenol-rich mocha with an unsweetened, high-quality chocolate powder.
13. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is found in your grass-fed butter, but it is also a powerful addition to your coffee. It’s heat stable and doesn’t change the coffee flavor. For the lowdown on how crucial K2 is to your biology, check out the Bulletproof podcast with Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue.
Maca, also known as Peruvian Ginseng, is an endocrine adaptogen that can help balance hormones and reverse hypothyroidism. It’s also high in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc. I like this one. But watch out: when I was looking to create a maca supplement, I put a high end supplier’s brand through the exhaustive Bulletproof Process for testing, and it failed with high aflatoxin levels of 13 ppm. Also, natives use gelatinized maca, NOT raw maca, because raw maca has anti-nutrients in it.
15. Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon Cinnamon can help you regulate your blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, along with helping guard against irritable bowel syndrome and stomach flu, while increasing memory and response times.[xi] Ceylon is in contrast to the kind of cinnamon you usually find in generic grocery stores, which is called Cassia – it isn’t actually made from the real cinnamon plant. It’s worth upgrading to Ceylon, especially since a lot of people have a small reaction to Cassia they often aren’t aware of.
16. Bonus Tip: Add Nothing At All!
Black coffee is great too, when you’re not hungry. So I often enjoy a cup of black Upgraded Coffee straight up. Or I make a shot of espresso made with Upgraded Beans in my La Marzocco GS3 (at 198.7 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact).
How else have you successfully hacked your morning (or early afternoon) Bulletproof Coffee? Share it in the comments below.
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