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Food & Recipes

These Vanilla Coffee Drinks Make Mochas Look Meh (And They Reduce Stress)

Who said "vanilla" has to mean boring?

“Vanilla” is sometimes used to describe something that’s bland or commonplace, but that really isn’t fair to the humble spice. Not only does it smell and taste delicious, but it also has some pretty incredible benefits for your mind and body. Learn more about this flavor that’s anything but boring, and try out some vanilla coffee sips that will satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you feel calm and energized all season.

How Vanilla Improves Well-Being

Curbs cravings: The sweet scent of vanilla tricks the brain into thinking your appetite is already satisfied, report researchers from North Carolina. And that can lead to speedy slimming — in a period of four weeks, participants in a British study who wore a vanilla-scented patch lost more weight than those that wore a lemon-scented or unscented one.

Soothes stress: This familiar smell and taste quickly soothes the brain’s emotional control center, the limbic system. Indeed, Indian researchers report that consuming vanilla has anti-anxiety effects that are comparable to those of medication.

Steadies blood sugar: Kicking back with a vanilla flavored drink can slash the risk of blood-sugar troubles. In an Indonesian study, vanilla was just as effective at lowering blood sugar as medication. How? It reduces the adrenal glands’ output of cortisol, so muscle cells are better able to soak up and burn excess blood glucose for fuel.

Stress-Reducing Sippers

Now you know that vanilla is good for your mind, body, and soul — what’s next? Try these recipes for yummy, winter-friendly vanilla coffee drinks. Relaxation never tasted so sweet.

Creamy Cocoa Vanilla Craze

Makes 2 servings. Per serving:

  • Calories: 300
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Carbs: 44 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 38 grams
  • Cholesterol: 30 miligrams
  • Sodium: 260 miligrams
  • Total fat: 10 grams
  • Saturated fat: 6 grams


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons hot cocoa mix
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons French vanilla creamer


In pot, add all ingredients over low heat; stir until hot.

Vanilla Bean Coffee Dream

Makes 2 servings. Per Serving:

  • Calories: 370 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Carbs: 77 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 61 grams
  • Cholesterol: 15 miligrams
  • Sodium: 65 miligrams
  • Total fat: 4 grams
  • Saturated fat: 3 grams


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


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

Vanilla Spice Chai Latte

Makes 2 servings. Per serving:

  • Calories: 110
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 19 grams
  • Cholesterol: 10 miligrams
  • Sodium: 20 miligrams
  • Total fat: 3 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2 grams


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


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

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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