Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
June 15, 2015
I love coffee. I drink my brew made from organic, single origin, freshly ground coffee beans. I use a French Press and then power-blend it with my organic favorites: coconut oil, grass fed ghee, raw cocoa powder, and Ceylon cinnamon (C. verum). Yum! The taste satisfies me, but who would have thought that coffee was overall healthy for the most part?
Coffee beans contain a natural blend of polyphenols, bioflavonoids, and other phytonutrients from which our bodies benefit, as well as a small amount of vitamins and minerals. Even the caffeine has some benefit.
This article discusses the chemistry of a cup of coffee (Here). It describes many of the benefits of coffee and some of its negatives. It appears that coffee consumption of 3-5 cups a day may decrease the chance of type 2 diabetes, protect neurons, provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, benefit the gut microbiome, and stimulate the Nrf2 pathway, which I have described in my previous blog. The caffeine in coffee stimulates the brain and possibly aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. One of the interesting things about coffee (like most whole foods) is that when subjects were given the individual components from coffee, the overall health benefits were not as pronounced as they were when subjects consumed a real cup of coffee.
Here are a few of the peer-reviewed articles on coffee consumption:
- Moderate coffee drinking of 3-5 cups a day may lower the prevalence of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in healthy individuals (Here) and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease (Here).
- Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Here) summarized that coffee consumption was inversely associated with premature death. The more coffee a person drank, the lower the risk of death from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections. In addition, coffee drinking was inversely related to all-cause death (Here).
- Caffeinated coffee has been reported to decrease the incidence of melanoma. (Here)
But, coffee is not the panacea or Go-To health drink. Here are some negatives:
- Coffee contains acrylamides. Acrylamides are potentially carcinogenic chemicals. In coffee, acrylamide formation peaks at some point in the roasting process before decreasing significantly. The coffee beans with the least levels of acrylamides are Arabica beans that have been dark roasted (Here).
- Coffee has been shown to increase total and LDL cholesterol levels in a meta-analysis study (Here).
- Coffee will increase blood pressure temporarily but not cause a long-term negative effect (Here).
For me, the positives outweigh the negatives. I do love my cup of coffee. I routinely drink 2 8-ounce cups a day. And, my preferred cup of coffee is my spiced bulletproof recipe that I described at the beginning of this article. However, some people will find that coffee irritates their stomach. Others might find that coffee makes them jittery. If these reactions occur for you, then don’t drink it.
Here is an infograph that shows how to make great French Press Coffee