Being coffee lovers, we’re interested in the way coffee affects our health. On our natural health journey, we found ourselves asking, “Is coffee good for you?”
I suppose the average coffee drinker isn’t going to investigate the state of the coffee industry or really even give it much thought. When you’re brewing the morning pot, waiting anxiously on that first cup of joe, who wants to think about poor production practices, chemical, and pesticide contamination, and the ongoing problem with the mold being found in some brands?
Is Coffee Good For You?
People who have lived or traveled abroad say they’ve had good coffee while in other countries and never experienced any unpleasant feelings or jitters. As soon as they are back in the states and drink the mass-produced coffee most people drink in America, they get those headaches, uneasy feelings, and jitters.
Did you know there have been over 19,000 studies on coffee and its effects on health? Yet there’s still a lot of confusion about coffee.
I remember being told as a teen that if I drank any it would stunt my growth and may even grow hair on my chest! Now that I am older and enjoy coffee myself, I think my grandparents just wanted to keep it all for themselves!
Historical Coffee Facts
But in all seriousness, there is so much contradictory information out there about coffee. One study says it’s not healthy to drink, while others say it’s healthy for you.
When researching the topic, you’ll also find a lot of misinformation as with most things nowadays. UGH! How do you know who’s right? Is coffee good for you?
Studies done in the 1950s linked coffee to dozens of diseases and disorders. They ranged from various cancers, breast lumps, birth defects, and heart disease to kidney damage.
Some of my family members lived to the ripe old age of 100 and most of them way up into their 80s. They enjoyed relatively good health while drinking coffee on and off all day long. This just didn’t add up to me. Is coffee good for you or is it not?
Now we know many of these early studies weren’t controlled and so the results are inaccurate. They failed to separate other high-risk factors from the study like smoking, heavy drinking, and lack of exercise.
Coffee was still the scapegoat and it remained so in people’s minds for the longest time.
The Real Facts About Coffee
Today, as the misinformation of the past is better understood, many scientists and researchers have determined that coffee is indeed good for you. A true superfood even!
In 2016, the federal government amended their dietary guidelines to include their findings that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day is tied to multiple health benefits, including those with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Now you know I don’t’ rely on anything the “Federals” say, so I researched and found some independent studies which actually verified the government’s statements.
Coffee is one of the richest sources of antioxidants we can add to our diet. As always, I don’t want you to just take my word for it. I encourage you to do your own research so I put some links at bottom of the post for you.
The antioxidants in coffee can help reverse the effects of many of the toxins your body must deal with. We know toxins lead to oxidative stress and inflammation in your body. Over 90% of all diseases are said to be the result of inflammation and stress in the body.
Not all Coffee is Created Equal
So why are there problems associated with coffee? Is coffee good for you?
Over the years, the large demand for coffee in America and the money to be made in coffee sales led to it being mass-produced. Around 97% of coffee sold here in America is mass-produced.
We all know when anything is mass-produced, quality is greatly decreased and often even altered. This results in a product that is usually not good for you.
When a factory has its eye on the cash while putting out the product as cheaply and quickly as possible, corners are cut somewhere and quality is the first thing to suffer. You know the old saying, “You can have two out of the three but you can’t have all three when it comes to cheap, fast, and quality.”
Coffee which is mass-produced is most often tainted with chemicals, pesticides, mold, mycotoxins, and even cancer-causing carcinogens. This knowledge helped to start the “organic movement” which has been growing in America for the past 15 years and counting.
What if your coffee could make you feel good while you’re drinking it?
What if your coffee was grown, processed, and handled with care, made from the best coffee beans from around the world?
Coffee that not only made you feel good but was good for you. That would be a great cup of joe!
Based on my research, these are what I consider the top answers to the question, “Is coffee good for you?”
Benefits of Coffee
- Coffee can improve energy levels and make you more intelligent – I need to drink more!
- Coffee helps you burn more fat when drank regularly – I need to drink more of it!
- Coffee drastically improves physical performance
- Coffee provides Essential Nutrients
- Coffee may lower the risk of Type II diabetes
- Coffee may protect you from Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
- Caffeine may lower the risk of Parkinson’s
- Coffee appears to have protective effects on the liver
- Coffee can help fight depression
- Coffee may lower the risk of some types of cancer
- Coffee does not cause heart disease and may lower the risk of stroke
- Coffee may help you live longer
- Coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet
- Coffee can make you happier – well it works for me, just ask my husband!
Find any benefits you like about your favorite cup of hot goodness?
What We all Need to Know About Coffee
You need to buy your coffee from a reputable company. One which knows how to find the best coffee beans in the world, grown and processed in an ethical and safe manner. You don’t want mold in your coffee in the morning.
To have a truly healthy cup of coffee, you have to purchase from a company that checks for mold and mycotoxins.
“It’s no secret that mold loves warm, moist environments, which pretty much sums up the climate of most coffee-growing regions. So, when fresh green coffee beans aren’t properly dried, usually due to cheap, low-quality processing, when manufacturers don’t maintain clean equipment and proper storage facilities, mold is bound to grow. The roasting process doesn’t totally kill the mold. This would explain why it’s found living on beans sitting on store shelves,” says Andrew Hetzel, who leads training courses for the Coffee Quality Institute.
How the Bean is Roasted is Crucial
As the bean is roasted, many antioxidant compounds diminish. At the start of the roasting process acrylamide, a known carcinogenic is formed. If the bean is under-roasted there are higher, unhealthy levels of acrylamide. So, you definitely do not want under-roasted coffee.
At the same time, over-roasting coffee forms polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are carcinogenic. Roasting temperature and roasting time directly affect this. So basically, you want a bean that’s been roasted by a reputable company you trust.
Coffee’s Rule of 15
- Raw “green” coffee beans are good for 15 months if stored correctly
- Roasted coffee is at its best for 15 days, if stored correctly
- Ground coffee is fresh for 15 minutes, so it must be consumed immediately to get maximum health benefits.
We use a coffee pot that has no heating element under the thermos carafe to prevent continued cooking.
Coffee can sit on supermarket shelves and in warehouses for months before reaching your favorite coffee cup. In this time, it’s losing more flavor and growing bitter and/or sour and the health benefits decrease.
So you should always be sure your coffee has a label with “roasted on” dates, so you can determine how fresh and healthy your next cup of coffee really is.
How Much Coffee Should We be Drinking?
As much as I can get my hands on… right? Well maybe for some of us who are borderline addicts. However, most studies on the health benefits of coffee seem to focus on 3-5 cups of brewed coffee a day.
From what I studied, the quality of the coffee was not given serious consideration in these studies. I believe a healthier cup of coffee would have even better results than the average brew. I try and listen to my body to evaluate my dietary needs. Which often reminds me I need a refill!
What to Look For When Purchasing Coffee
There are my best tips for deciding which coffee to purchase.
- Organic, shage grown coffee from a single origin
- Roasted dates clearly shown on product
- A compny that tests for mold and mycotoxins
- Slow roasted or artisan roasted
- Whole beans and grind yourself if possible for you
Tips for a Great Cup of Coffee
- Start with pure water. Because we are on a small community water system that uses chlorine, we use a Berkey Water Filter system in our home for all drinking and cooking water.
- Only grind the amount of coffee you want to brew right now and brew it within 15 minutes of grinding.
- Use the grind best suited to your preferred method of brewing. Adjusting the size of grind will help you find your target taste.
- Suggested brewing instructions:
Start with cold water
0.5 oz. ground coffee per 8 fl. oz. water or adjusted to your tastes (14 grams of coffee per 235 ml water)
- If you use a paper filter, use a chemical-free paper one. I use a permanent stainless steel filter. Filters can trap diterpenes, a component of coffee that helps healthy LDLs, found in the coffee oils.
- Don’t let your coffee sit for hours on a hot plate since continued heating changes the chemical composition of the coffee and not for the better. Simply make the amount of coffee you intend to consume immediately or put it in a thermos to keep it hot without re-heating it.
- Don’t microwave your coffee. There are over 1000 compounds in just one cup. Microwaving coffee has negative effects on some of these healthy compounds.
If your ultimate goal is to maximize the health benefits of your coffee, you should avoid artificial sweeteners and other additives not beneficial to your health.
Adding a dash of salt to your coffee grounds before brewing removes bitterness and alkalizes the coffee. It’s important for you to know I don’t mean ordinary “table salt”. I mean healthy, real salt. Yes, there is such a thing.
I like a strong black cup of coffee. But to aid in my intermittent fasting, my last cup of coffee in the morning has coconut milk, a little raw whole milk, 1 teaspoon of homemade ghee, and my special blend of anti-inflammatory herbs.
It’s important to use the healthiest ingredients you can for a healthier cup of coffee. This includes using the healthiest milk.
Some people like to add butter or coconut oil to their coffee as a way of flavoring and getting some healthy fats in their diet.
My husband likes a teaspoon of ghee in his first cup of coffee every morning. Again, I’ll say how important it is to use organic, non-GMO sources for these as well.
So, is coffee good for you? The answer may surprise you: “It depends on the coffee you use, how you brew it, how you keep it hot, and what you add to it.”
For us, the answer is Yes because of what we do about all these things. I knew my body was right. Now, I’ll go brew another pot!
So, there you have it. Sit down with me and let’s share a healthy cup of coffee as we journey together.
As always, I’m here to help.