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Spilling the Beans on Coffee

Spilling the Beans on Coffee

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.” 
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 

Coffee is one of the most savored medicinal plants in the world  So much that astronauts drink it in space. There isn't one country on earth that doesn't drink coffee. Plus, it's one of the topmost researched subjects for health (which includes your skin) and has greatly advanced in its findings. 

Let's plunge into the myths and benefits of that intriguing cup of caffeine.

What advantages does coffee give?

 

Caffeine is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. This stimulant has been found to increase mental alertness and boost moods. It can lower the chance of depression by one third. Research has shown that it can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (by 33%)

Studies have revealed that type 2 diabetics may have a much higher chance of developing Alzheimer's, but coffee has been found to lower it. Scientists also discovered that coffee can lessen the chances of liver disease and liver cancer, aid in weight management, reducing the potential for dementia, decreasing migraines, and gout. It has even been found to increase longevity.

Is coffee safe to drink every day? For a healthy adult, YES, but there are limits. 

 

The European Food and Safety Authority in Parma, Italy explains, "Single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg (about 3 mg/kg bw (body weight) for a 70-kg adult) do not give rise to safety concerns. Habitual caffeine consumption up to 400 mg per day does not give rise to safety concerns for non-pregnant adults. Habitual caffeine consumption up to 200 mg per day by pregnant women does not give rise to safety concerns for the fetus."

Does coffee have any nutritional value?

 

It has high levels of nutrients, such as magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. It also has high levels of antioxidantspolyphenols, and hydrocinnamic acids.

It may help with acne problems being it contains chlorogenic acids. You can make your skincare products like a facial scrub. (Recipe:  2 tbsp of used grinds, 1 tbsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of oil or honey).

Since antioxidants fight free radicals, this is great news for your skin! Polyphenols help prevent and even repair UV damage.

"There is increasing evidence that different forms of polyphenols used orally and topically may be beneficial for skin health and, more specifically, for prevention of sunburns," International Journal of Molecular Sciences concluded. 

Do all coffee beverages hold the same power? How you prepare and take your coffee is important. 

 

You can cancel coffee benefits by drinking it with too much sugar or artificial flavors. Sipping a Vietnamese coffee or Chrissy Teigen's Thai coffee every day would not be a good idea. They taste delicious but have condensed milk which is high in sugar, cholesterol, and calories.

Of course, you can combine some healthy ingredients to your drink, such as milk, a lower amount of sugar (or a healthy alternative like monk fruit). It's best to keep your coffee tasty but simple. 

What about any disadvantages? People with specific underlying health conditions might find ways to enjoy a cup, after consulting with their doctor. 

 

Those with high cholesterol should opt for a dark roast and a reusable or paper filter. It can remove some oils that could potentially raise their already high cholesterol condition. Using a mocha (espresso) maker with a stainless steel filter will not remove the oils, still, in small amounts, it does not have much effect on cholesterol levels. Although a lighter roast contains higher levels of antioxidants, the darker roast has less oil. 

Andrew Weil, M.D. explains, "American-style filtered coffee, in which hot water passes quickly through ground coffee in a paper filter, is the brewing method that gives you the least amount of cafestol. since most of this substance is left in the filter." 

Another thing to watch for is heartburn after drinking coffee. It normally is caused by being overcaffeinated. But, if you have acid reflux, you don’t want to trigger it with anything acidic. Coffee’s ph level (with 7.0 is neutral, it falls between 4.5-6.0) is not as high as some foods, but someone who has GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) should avoid coffee. 

Is coffee a carcinogen? What is the Prop 65 cancer warning label in cafes? This confused me at first, too.

 

Many older studies did not separate coffee drinkers who had unhealthy habits, i.e. alcohol addiction and cigarettes. Only a few years ago, coffee was said to be a carcinogen, but the studies failed to take in the fact that many of the subjects who smoked cigarettes regularly.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) states that the acrylamide dose in coffee is too low to be a carcinogenic risk. Therefore, coffee is now exempt from its list. 

"Acrylamide is formed at high temperatures as a byproduct of the browning process and unavoidable in a typical diet. It’s commonly found in foods including French fries, potato chips, crackers, bread, cereal, cooked asparagus, canned olives, and more. With respect to coffee, acrylamide is produced naturally during roasting. It is not added by coffee companies." according to the National Coffee Association.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (the official cancer research team of the World Health Organization and the United Nations) declared that coffee is not carcinogenic, but warned against consuming very hot drinks. 

"The experts did find that drinking very hot beverages probably causes cancer of the [esophagus] in humans. These results suggest that drinking very hot beverages are one probable cause of oesophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible,” says Dr. Christopher Wild, IARC Director.

Are there are other precautions to drinking coffee, aside from those pointed out above (esophageal cancer, high cholesterol)? 

 

Yes, another is toxic coffee. When you consume any food or beverage, it's best to take in the cleanest bean. I've found that some coffees give me major headaches, therefore, I always grab a good quality one. It's information that I have to remember when buying coffee outside my home.

"Cheaper coffee varieties cost less because they use poor quality beans and they allow a higher percentage of damaged (moldy) beans, then companies process them with techniques that add flavor but amplify the amount of toxins," explains Bulletproof Coffee

Many experts suggest that consumers go for organic coffee or coffee that is grown herbicide, pesticide, and fungicide free. You don't want to brew toxic coffee. Regular coffee drinkers should make it a priority to grab a cup of clean coffee. Treat yourself to a healthier cup of caffeine.

Ultimately, it's a matter of preference. Some people don't drink any caffeine and are more energetic than others. I can't relate. So, I'll keep sipping my coffee.

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