Is Coffee Really Healthy???

Health Benefits Of Coffee

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants (you know the stuff that makes you look younger) made of quinces, which becomes more potent after roasting.  

Magnesium is naturally found in coffee; and when magnesium is combined with quinines, we see a lowering effect on blood sugar that may be responsible for a lower risk of type II diabetes development.  

Caffeine may also help with headaches, migraine pain and can even increase athletic performance. It also contains an antibacterial compound trigonelline, which may help in the prevention of dental caries (cavities).  This compound becomes more pronounced during the roasting and is also responsible for giving coffee it's unforgettable aroma. Researchers are drawing a strong connection (correlation) between coffee and its potential preventative measures of Parkinson’s disease.  Coffee may also lower the incidence of liver cancer and liver disease.  Researchers noted a reduction of liver cancer risk by about 50% in those who drank 3 cups of coffee per day.  Coffee showed an ability to reduce alcoholic cirrhosis by about 22%  Coffee consumption reduced mortality from cirrhosis due to alcohol by 66%

If Coffee Is So Healthy, Then Why Aren’t We Seeing The Benefits?

Last year, according to coffeeresearch.org, Americans consume approximately 4.4kg of coffee per person annually. This equates to roughly 3.1 cups of coffee per day per person!

So why aren’t Americans seeing the health benefits listed above?

Two main reasons:

1. The quality of coffee

2. What we put in coffee

The Quality of Coffee

Pesticide Concerns

• Coffee shows up on many lists of products that are very high in pesticides.  The agrochemicals are directed at the stems and leaves, but independent tests are finding residue on the beans themselves.  Roasting only removes partial amounts of the pesticides.  Pesticides have been linked to endocrine disorders, cancers, and neurological disorders.  Because many types of coffees are imported, the USDA has limited control over the types of pesticides, amounts, and techniques used.

Choose Organic

• While organic coffee is typically more expensive, the health care costs for the aforementioned conditions are much greater.

• By choosing an organic coffee you are not only improving your own health, but the health of the coffee farmers and the condition of the land on which the plants are grown.

Other Notable Coffee Trends

• Shade-grown: Coffee is grown in a manner that protects rainforests. Shade grown coffee farmers will plant their coffee crop under another crop such as avocados or citrus trees. Shade-grown coffee connoisseurs tout that this type of coffee is more robust and flavourful than the full-sun-grown counterparts.

• Fair-trade: Fair trade was created in the effort to promote a more amicable trading environment to ensure that producers in developing countries are paid a fair price for products while increasing sustainability. Grounds for Change coffee is an example fair trade, organic and shade-grown coffee. Almost half of organic coffee is also labeled as fair-trade.

• UTZ-certified: Signifies that the coffee was grown under fair labor practices with as minimal chemical application as possible. It is traceable from farmer to roaster to consumer and emphasizes transparency.

The Quality Of Decaf Coffee

Decaffeinated coffee contains 10 mg or less of caffeine, versus 75-150mg in a regular cup of coffee. To remove the caffeine from coffee, producers use numerous chemicals like benzene, high levels of carbon dioxide and methyl chloride, most of which are carcinogenic.  If you must drink decaf, choose a brand that uses steam extraction such as the Swiss Water Process®.

What We Put In Coffee:

Chemicals, Creamers and Sugars….Oh My!

In addition to the pesticide and carcinogen concerns discussed above, there are 2 more components we put in coffee that keep us from experiencing its health benefits.

1. Sweeteners & Artificial Sweeteners

a. Sweeteners: Putting poor-quality sweeteners in coffee adds unwanted chemicals AND calories. Case in point – Starbucks most popular blended coffee drinks rack up about 500-750 calories per 16 ounce serving. Most of that is sugar, which converts in the body to fat.

b. Artificial sweeteners: Add to the chemical load of the body, convert into other more carcinogenic substances during the body’s own detoxification process, and increase the carbohydrate cravings.

2. Poor Quality Dairy

Most creamers or coffee lighteners that are sold as such are some of the lowest quality dairy products on the market.

a. Whole Milk

• Contains lactose, casein, and whey for those who may be intolerant

• High fat content

• Triggers growth hormone production in human body

• May have added hormones and/or antibiotics from dairy cows

• If you need to use a liquid coffee lightener, choose organic whole milk

b. Low-fat Milk/1% Milk/Skim Milk

• Contains lactose, casein, and whey for those who may be intolerant

• Triggers growth hormone production in human body

• May have added hormones and/or antibiotics from dairy cows

• May contain chemical additives to replace the removed fat

c. Non-Dairy Creamer

• Typically made of partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), casein, corn syrup solids, soybean, canola and/or sunflower oils, artificial flavours and colors, etc. (basically a storm of chemicals).

• While “non-dairy” creamer does not contain lactose it does contribute to the overall inflammatory process of the body because it increases arachidonic acid production in the body. Avoid.

d. Flavored Creamers

• Flavoured creamers such as Coffee-Mate are generally chemical nightmares that contribute to systemic inflammation

• They often contain:

– Corn syrup solids – triggers insulin response and may lead to insulin resistance

– Vegetable oil (including partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil) – trans fatty acids that may lead to heart disease and/or stroke

– Sodium casein ate – triggers opioid centers in the brain increasing desire to consume more

– Dipotassium phosphate – a fertilizer that is used to prevent clumping

– Sodium aluminosilicate – contains aluminum which has been connected to the development of such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease

– Artificial flavor depending on the type purchased

The Highest-Quality Coffee

• Organic, fair trade, shade-grown

• Drink black or add:

o Teaspoon of Kerrygold unsalted grass-fed butter and/ or some coconut oil or MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil.

 If you blend coffee, butter and oil, coffee will get frothy and taste like a richer, healthier latte

 Google Dave Asprey’s “Bulletproof Coffee” for more information

o Sweeten with flavored or plain stevia.

Should I Quit Drinking Coffee?

While we’ve seen that coffee does have health benefits, the amount of caffeine that is present in coffee may be causing problems in your body.  If you have any of the following health challenges or concerns, you may want to consider reducing or eliminating coffee and caffeine.

Adrenal Fatigue

One of the major health challenges from coffee consumption is exhausted adrenal glands.  Since caffeine stimulates the Central Nervous System, or CNS, it causes the adrenal glands to secrete the hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline signals the body to stay in a constant state of readiness, which also means a constant stress response. Eventually, the adrenal glands cannot sustain the stress response and they fatigue. This is a serious problem because the adrenal glands are essential in regulating youth and sex hormones such as DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen.  As adrenals fatigue even further, thyroid function and other crucial metabolic systems can be affected.

Blood Sugar Imbalance (aka Blood Sugar Roller Coaster)

Caffeine also forces the liver to release glycogen into the blood, creating a sudden increase of blood sugar. This forces the pancreas to respond by secreting insulin in response to the increased blood sugar.  Therefore, repeated consumption of caffeine can triggers the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster, which can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes and a host of other health concerns.  Coffee can also inhibit the absorption of some nutrients and increases urinary excretion of magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and trace minerals. This can increase the risk of the development of osteoporosis.

Pregnancy, Fertility, PMS, & Hormones

Pregnant women really need to be careful of their caffeine intake since caffeine can cross the placenta and can increase the risk of miscarriage. It can also increase infertility in those who are trying to conceive. Fibrocystic breast disease and PMS symptoms can be made worse by caffeine consumption and may increase hormonal fluctuations during menopause.

Urinary Irritation & Dehydration

Coffee is also an irritant to the urinary tract, including the bladder. For those who suffer from frequent urination, coffee acts as a diuretic. For men who have enlarged prostate glands it would be a good idea to eliminate coffee and caffeine to reduce the associated symptoms and frequent urination.  Although coffee contains water, it actually forces the body to excrete more water than coffee can provide, so it is dehydrating instead of hydrating.

Heart Conditions

Those with heart conditions, especially irregular heartbeat, need to be concerned with their coffee consumption. Since coffee has the ability to excrete magnesium and calcium – two major regulatory minerals for heart muscle functioning – coffee consumption can further dysregulate the heart.

Vitamin & Mineral Absorption Challenges

Magnesium is also essential for the breakdown of fats in the body. Without efficient breakdown of fats, the body is also unable to utilize the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, so they are also excreted more quickly than normal.  Coffee can also lead to B and C vitamin deficiencies. B-vitamin deficiency (in particular B6, folate and B12) can be particularly dangerous since they help to control the levels of homocysteine in the body.

How Do I Quit Drinking Coffee Without Losing My Mind?

• Gradually dilute your coffee until you are consuming only hot water.

• Start with 90% coffee and 10% water. Keep this ratio for a week or more.

• Next, reduce the coffee to 75% and increase water to 25% of your cup. Again, keep this ratio for a week or more.

• Now you can go quicker! For four days, try a half and half coffee-to-water mixture.

• Let coffee go and switch to hot water with lemon Additional Strategies

• Switch from coffee to green tea and follow the reduction schedule above.  Green tea has approximately 25 mg of caffeine per cup compared to coffee’s 75-150mg per cup.

• Ginseng can help keep you in balance during caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and ginseng dilates them. Be sure to take ginseng BEFORE the onset of a headache. Follow label directions.

• Consider switching to herbal teas such as dandelion tea. This tastes like coffee, but also adds liver cleansing benefits.

• Try coffee alternatives, like Dandy Blend or Teccino (made with barley but has no detectable amount of gluten).

• Make sure to drink at least 6-8 glasses of filtered water daily. This helps to keep you hydrated and helps the bowels eliminate. This is especially important for those who tend toward constipation.

• Make sure you get 8 hrs of sleep every night. Also, try afternoon 20-min power naps to increase energy and productivity.

• Exercise! Even if you can only fit in 30 minutes of walking during a lunch break

it will do wonders for your energy (plus it will help get bowels moving).

• Eat regular meals with high-quality protein, fat and finer to keep your blood sugar and your energy steady.

• Avoid eating until too full: eating too much will create tension and tightness in your digestive system, which will make you crave the lightening effects of coffee. Eat until satisfied, or about 80% full.

• Try right-nostril breathing. Pinch off the left nostril and breathe exclusively through the right for a few minutes each day. This helps create a natural stimulant by increasing oxygen flow. This may mimic the caffeine effect.

 

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References

National Coffee Association of U.S.A. The History of Coffee.

http://ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=68

Coffee is number one source of antioxidants. http://www.prnewswire.com/newsreleases/

coffee-study-finds-morning-brew-is-americans-largest-source-ofantioxidants-

55420762.html

Goto A, Song Y, Chen BH, et al. Coffee and caffeine consumption in relation to sex

hormone-binding globulin and risk of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women.

Diabetes. 2011 Jan;60(1):269-75.

Ross GW, Abbott RD, Petrovitch H, et al. Association of coffee and caffeine intake

with the risk of Parkinson disease. JAMA. 2000 May 24-31;283(20):2674-9.

Bravi F, Bosetti C, Tavani A, Gallus S, La Vecchia C. Coffee reduces risk for

hepatocellular carcinoma: an updated meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013

Nov;11(11):1413-1421.e1.

Klatsky AL, Morton C, Udaltsova N, Friedman GD. Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase

enzymes. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 12;166(11):1190-5.

Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Breathing through a particular nostril can alter

metabolism and autonomic activities. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1994 Apr;38(2):133-

7.

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