Coffee is one of those foods the media seems to go back and forth on. One day you read that drinking 25 cups of coffee is fine, the next day coffee is something to avoid. How you do decide what to believe? Can you boost your health with coffee? Is it a guilty pleasure or a natural superfood? Taking nutrition advice from the media can be tricky, so I thought I would try to shed some light on the science-based health benefits of quality coffee.
Now, I love coffee: the aroma, the taste, the ritual. I prefer my coffee iced with a few drops of liquid stevia and a touch of coconut milk. It's a delight I enjoy on most mornings. My clients frequently ask if coffee is good or bad? My answer is always "it depends." It certainly depends on how coffee affects you personally. I along with some of my clients can't tolerate the caffeine, so I recommend choosing decaf. But my number one "it depends" stipulation is on quality! You absolutely MUST choose a clean and healthy coffee.
A heaping spoonful of low quality instant coffee, or the coffee you might buy at most gas stations, will likely use the cheapest, lowest quality coffee beans (usually selected based on price alone). These beans may contain a higher ratio of bean defects (such as insect damage, over-fermented, and oxidized) and higher levels of mold. Plus, the coffee could be stale. Many of the benefits of the coffee compounds will still be present, but so will toxins and chemicals that can create adverse health effects.
It's best to find a coffee that’s tested to be free of contaminants, like Purity Coffee.
Purity Coffee is the only coffee that is produced with health as the top consideration. Every step of the way, from organically grown plants to fresh, nitrogen-flushed bags, they make sure the coffee is pure and clean. Not only is Purity Coffee free of contaminants, but it's roasted to have the highest concentration of antioxidants and the lowest risk of carcinogenic compounds. You can be confident that your health is in good hands when you brew Purity Coffee at any temperature.
Now that we've got my two caveats about coffee out of the way, let's discuss five science-based ways quality coffee can boost your health:
The key ingredient in coffee is a group of antioxidants known as chlorogenic acids, or CGAs. These components protect us from oxidation and damage caused by free radicals, which are basically everywhere. Free radicals are created from substances in the foods we eat, beverages we drink, and toxins we're exposed to in our environments. But, free radicals are also naturally created by our bodies as a byproduct of normal metabolism. Free radicals are implicated in the disease process, but also in aging. Enter CGAs (antioxidants) which help to eliminate these oxidizing molecules in the body. Thus the term “antioxidants.”
Coffee is actually the richest source of antioxidants in the western diet (and PURITY is the richest source of antioxidants out of all coffees), more than even ‘superfoods’ like blueberries and kale.
2. Athletic Performance
Athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise than those who didn’t. A little caffeine post-workout may have benefits too. Compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo was shown to increase muscle glycogen by 66% after intense exercise, allowing athletes to exercise harder and longer in their next exercise session.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
This 2014 study showed that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than 1 cup per day over a 4 year period had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4 years compared with those who made no changes in their coffee consumption. Participants who decreased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup per day had a 17% higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
4. Liver Disease
This meta-analysis suggests a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer in coffee drinkers. Research also suggests that coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of other liver conditions as well.
5. Heart Health
This recent study suggests a lower risk of atrial fibrillation among men who consume 1-3 cups of coffee per day. Your heart has four chambers and when those chambers are pumping normally, you can supply blood to the rest of your body and return blood to your lungs to be oxygenated. When you have a-fib, those chambers are not beating as they should. This can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related events.
6. Cancer (BONUS)
Coffee is valued for its high antioxidant value and phytochemicals, so it's no surprise that coffee has been linked to lower risk for certain types of cancers. It also may promote longevity. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, "coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, having lower risk of dying from many cancers – as well as other chronic diseases." You can read more about the research on the AICR website here.
Drink it hot or pour yourself a nice glass of cold brew...
Because coffee acids are better extracted at high temperatures, cold brew can be up to 60% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. Many people (myself included) love the smoother, sweeter flavor of cold brew. Since fewer acids are extracted than from a typical heated brewing process, it doesn’t have the same bitter bite to it that can be off-putting for some.
Check out this Salted Caramel Latte Smoothie:
1 banana, frozen
1 cup Purity coffee, brewed, chilled or frozen into ice cubes (see notes)
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medjool dates, pitted
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1. Brew coffee and chill or place in ice cube trays and freeze.
2. Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and creamy.
3. Add ice cubes as desired.
Start cooking with coffee...
Coffee isn’t just for drinking, try cooking with it! Use the grounds in anything from baked goods, smoothies, energy bites, or combine with dried herbs as a coating for steak or fish.
Here are a couple more delicious coffee recipes to try:
Ultimate Energy Bites
1 1/2 cup pecans, raw
4 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 tsp Purity coffee beans, ground
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut oil, unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt to taste
Add pecans to food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Add rest of ingredients and process until combined.
Roll into 12 bites [serving size = 1 bite].
Refrigerate until firm then dust with cocoa powder if desired.
Vegan Coffee Bean Cashew Butter
2 cup cashews, raw, soaked
1 Tbsp Purity coffee beans, ground
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt, to taste
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Place cashews in bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Add all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
Enjoy with sliced apple.
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Disclosure: Some of the links provided here reflect partnerships we have with brands we believe in. We would never recommend a product we don't believe in and maintain the highest standards of integrity when recommending commercial products. I received free Purity coffee products in exchange for my honest opinion.