healthy eating Sep 24, 2020

Over 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day worldwide according to Wikipedia.  This beloved drink is the beginning of the day for so many people but are there any nutritious benefits in this popular cup of joe?  It depends on what you put in your coffee, how the bean is processed and how much you drink.  In this two part series we will take a look at the health benefits of the coffee bean, caffeine in general (how much is too much), and the healthiest ways to drink your coffee.  With a bonus Starbucks menu deep dive!   

Not all coffee beans are equal


Although there are different ways to process the coffee beans before they are ready to purchase, mold has been reported in some coffee bean production.  The potentially harmful chemicals, called mycotoxins are formed by mold which can be found on improperly stored beans.  Our bodies are regularly exposed to trace amounts of other harmful substances and since mycotoxins are neutralized by the liver, they won't accumulate in your body as long as your exposure remains low.  Even so, it's better to drink quality coffee which may cost more but as with vitamins, you get what you pay for.  Bulletproof coffee is well known in the fitness world and is one option for quality coffee.  Not to be confused with the Bulletproof coffee recipe which is a popular Keto way to drink coffee.  Other brands of quality coffee are Kion, Laird Superfood and Fresh Roasted LLC. 

The health benefits of coffee

Coffee is healthy in moderation.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, and numerous studies observe that regular coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of serious diseases. Some research even suggests that coffee drinkers may live longer.  The Mayo Clinic reports coffee may offer some protection against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart attack and stroke. 

Coffee can temporarily raise blood pressure and if drinking it causes heartburn, nervousness or insomnia, consider cutting back.  

Caffeine, how much is too much

There are other ways to get caffeine but in relationship to coffee it's how you drink it as well as how often.  There are different roasts of the coffee bean, from light to dark with the light roast having the largest caffeine content.  Light roast, I know!  For years I assumed dark roast coffee had a higher caffeine content but it's just a more bold flavor.  The way espresso is prepared accounts for the higher amounts of caffeine over a drip coffee.  A standard cup of regular joe (8 oz of drip coffee) contains about 65-120 mg of caffeine, compared to a 1 oz shot of espresso’s 30-50 mg of caffeine.  Hello triple shot at Starbucks! 

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults (Mayo clinic).  That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee.  Keep in mind that the actual caffeine content in beverages varies widely, as we mentioned with espresso.  You may want to cut back if you're drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day and you have side effects such as, headache, insomnia, nervousness or irritability.  

Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than are others. If you're susceptible to the effects of caffeine, even small amounts may prompt unwanted effects, such as restlessness and sleep problems.  Notice how you feel with one cup of coffee and how it effects you if you drink some after 2:00PM.  Many sleep cycles are inhibited unknowingly by late in the day caffeine consumption.  

To wrap up let's not rely on coffee to wake up, stay up and keep you going.  Rather drink that warm hug in a mug each morning or that iced wonder on a hot day when you feel like it but the goal is not to NEED it.  Next post is part 2 where we talk about healthy ways to drink your coffee and take a deep dive into Starbucks menu.

Until next time

Be Fit, Be Strong and Drink coffee in moderation

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