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Food & Recipes

Vanilla Coffee Drinks Are Perfect When You Want to Feel Less Stress + More Sexy Energy — Delicious Ways to Get the Benefits

Our café-inspired recipes make it easy to feel great for less!

“Vanilla” is sometimes used to describe something that’s bland or commonplace, but, honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Not only does vanilla smell and taste delicious, but it also has some pretty incredible benefits for your mind and body — if you consume a certain type of the spice. Learn more about this flavoring that’s anything but boring, and discover a few café-inspired vanilla coffee drinks that will satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you feel sexy, happy and much less stressed.

What to know about imitation vs real vanilla

Vanilla is known for adding a sweet and rich caramel flavor to foods and drinks, but not all vanilla is made the same way.

The problem with imitation vanilla

Imitation vanilla mostly comes in extract form and is derived from the synthetic version of vanillin, a key compound that gives vanilla beans their taste. This type of vanilla is known for being cheap and a staple ingredient for baked goods. However, it’s an artificial flavoring as it contains added ingredients including corn syrup. As a result, imitation vanilla doesn’t offer the nutritional benefits compared to real vanilla — and the corn syrup can have real downsides when it comes to your health and waistline.

The power of real vanilla

Pure or real vanilla is the healthier option to consume due to its natural vanillin content and fewer added ingredients. Real vanilla is also more expensive than the imitation kind, but it does add a robust vanilla flavor to drinks and baked goods. That means, it’s often money well spent. This type of vanilla is often sold in the form of whole beans, extract or a thick paste. (Click through to find out more about the uses for various forms of vanilla.)

5 health benefits of consuming real vanilla

We tapped Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD, nutritionist and ACE-certified trainer at to explains the perks that are associated with consuming pure vanilla in any form:

  1. Protects your brain: The natural vanillin in real vanilla can help neutralize free radicals in the body. Because of this, the antioxidant may aid in reducing oxidative stress and preventing cellular damage, potentially lowering the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and certain cancers.
  2. Reduces stress: The aroma of vanilla is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Studies show that it can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, promoting relaxation and improving mood.
  3. Improves digestive health: Traditionally, vanilla has been used to support digestive health. So adding pure vanilla to a drink can help soothe an upset stomach and aid digestion. Real vanilla may even help prevent ulcers.
  4. Relieves inflammation: Research published in the journal Advances in Traditional Medicine suggests that vanilla possesses anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its vanillin content. These properties may help alleviate inflammation-related conditions in the body — and less inflammation translates into better health and faster weight loss.
  5. Boosts libido: Vanilla’s sensual aroma potential effects on mood contribute to its reputation as an aphrodisiac, a substance that enhances libido and stimulates romantic feelings.

3 vanilla coffee drinks to make at home

Ready to get the benefits? Try these recipes for yummy vanilla coffee shop-inspired drinks:

1. Mocha-Oat Milk Magic

Mocha Oat Milk vanilla coffee drink

Ingredients (for 1 serving):

  • ½ cup espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups oat milk


  1. In tall glass, combine first 4 ingredients.
  2. Fill glass with ice and top with oat milk.

2. Vanilla Bean Coffee Dream

Vanilla Bean Coffee Dream
Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 4 shots espresso
  • 1 cup milk


  1. In pot, heat first 2 ingredients with ½ cup water over low heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved; let cool.
  2. Divide espresso, milk, and 2 tablespoons syrup among 2 mugs.

3. Vanilla Spice Chai Latte

Vanilla Spice Chai Latte

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup half-and-half


  1. In pot, steep tea bags in 2 cups water over medium heat for 5 minutes; strain.
  2. Stir in honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and half-and-half. Divide among 2 mugs.

Looking for more ways to supercharge your morning coffee? Read the stories below:

Women Over 50 Are Going Crazy for Protein Coffee — And Weight Loss Is Only One Reason

Love Those Coffee Drinks Made With Skinny Syrups? Here’s How to Enjoy Them for Less

Adding This Surprising Pantry Staple to Your Coffee Will Help Fight Inflammation and Give Your Health a Major Boost

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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