Who doesn’t like to have a cup of delicious warm coffee from time to time? Ok, there may be a few people who don’t. I do. Very much! But wait… Is coffee good or bad for you? According to National Coffee Association, over 50% of adult Americans drink coffee regularly every day and in many countries, mostly in Europe and South America coffee is a second most consumed beverage next to water. Whether you drink coffee occasionally or everyday, you should know how to make the most out of your cup of this interesting beverage.
First of all let’s take a look at most common pros and cons of drinking coffee:
- High in antioxidants
- Reduces inflammations which are roots of most diseases
- Increases metabolism by 20%
- Improves heart health and prevents strokes
- Protects against several types of cancer – liver, kidneys, colon, prostate and others
- Protects against neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- Lowers risk of gastrointestinal diseases, gallstones
- Increases energy and concentration
- Helps to fight depression by elevating serotonin and dopamine
- Helps to control asthma by relieving symptoms
- Too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety and heart palpitations
- Disrupts sleep
- Increases blood pressure (which can be a benefit for a healthy individual but can also be dangerous for certain conditions)
- Coffee can be addictive while consumed regularly – withdraw can last a few days and includes headaches, irritability, tiredness and brain fog
- Depletes your body in minerals
How to maximize benefits and minimize drawbacks:
- Choose Organic Coffee beans are known to be one of the most contaminated crops in the world. They’re heavily sprayed crops with pesticides and a large number of toxic chemicals combined with solvents which not only obliterate positive effects of coffee but are extremely harmful to your body. Therefor, you should choose only coffee beans that are certified organic. Whenever possible, purchase sustainable “shade-grown” coffee to help prevent the continued destruction of our tropical rain forests and the birds that inhabit them. There are many who say shade grown coffee tastes better as well.
- Whole Bean: It’s important to buy whole bean and not pre-grained coffee to avoid rancidity. Your coffee should smell and taste fresh, not stale and acidic and have a naturally oily texture. If your coffee does not have a pleasant fresh aroma, it is likely rancid. Grain your coffee right before brewing for the best results.
- Coffee without sugar prior exercise: According to Ori Hofmekler’s extensive research “Coffee before training allows you fast energy to initiate your workout. For people who train in the morning, having coffee before training is a great advantage.” If you exercise in the morning, have your coffee prior to your workout, NOT after. Consuming coffee after your workout interferes with your body’s muscle-building mechanism. Sugar on the other hand interferes with insulin levels.
- Choose dark roast over light roast. Roasted coffees are higher in neuroprotective agents than green (unroasted) coffees. A new study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that dark roast coffee restored blood levels of the antioxidants vitamin E and glutathione more effectively than light roast coffee. The dark roast also led to a significant body weight reduction in pre-obese volunteers, whereas the lighter roast did not. Other studies have shown that dark roast coffee produces more of a chemical called N-methylpyridinium, which helps prevent your stomach from producing excess acid, so darker roast coffee may be easier on your stomach than lighter roast coffee.
- Replace Minerals and Water in your body: Having a glass of water for every cup of coffee will prevent your body from dehydration. As far as minerals go, you can easily replace them by having a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses mixed with water a couple of hours after having your coffee. You can also choose an easier option and put molasses straight to your coffee. It hardly changes the taste of the coffee adding just a hint of rich sweetness. You need to remember, that this way you’ll only get about 50% of some of the minerals because caffeine decreases their absorption.
- Drink coffee only in the morning. Caffeine in human body has a half-life of 3-5 hours on average. That’s how much time it takes for your body to eliminate half of the consumed substance. The remaining caffeine and its effects can remain in your system for up to 8-12 hours.
- Storing Coffee in airtight container in a dark, cool place it’s very important. It’s ok to keep your coffee beans in a refrigerator or freezer as they are in a hermetically sealed receptacle. That way it’ll stay fresh and keep all the health benefits for a longer time.
- Avoid toxic materials: If you use a “drip” coffee maker, make sure you don’t use bleached filters as they are full of dangerous disinfection byproducts such as dioxin and chlorine that leaches to your coffee while brewing. Avoid plastic and styrofoam cups whenever you can – as they release BPA, polystyrene molecules and other toxic chemicals straight to your drink.
How to “Green Up” your coffee:
- A large mug of organic fresh brewed Coffee
- 1 tbsp Blackstrap Molasses – for replacing minerals
- 1 Cinnamon Stick – for taste and health benefits
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil – for better brain performance
- 1-2 tsp Turbinado raw sugar – for replacing minerals
Stir all the ingredients together and enjoy the heavenly taste and full benefits of coffee. Feel free to blend it together in a blender if you like more creamy consistency. If you like your coffee with milk, make sure you choose organic or plant based milk without toxic chemicals.
- Larsson S.C. et al (2007) Coffee consumption and liver cancer: a meta-analysis.
- Muriel P. et al (2010) Coffee and liver disease. Fitoterapia, 81:297-305.
- Gressner O.A. (2009) About coffee, cappuccino and connective tissue growth factor – or how to protect your liver!? Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 28(1):1-10.