5 Strategies To Get More Benefits From Your Coffee
Coffee is the favorite beverage of millions of people in the world. The cultivation and trade of coffee and the enjoyment of a warm cup of coffee dates back to the 15th century when coffee was grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia. Throughout the 16th century, it made its way to Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Persia, and to Europe in the 17th century.
Coffee was brought to the Americas and soon coffee houses were popping up in the United States in the 18th century. Coffee clearly has a rich history and culture. As presented by the large variety of drinks – American, espresso, cappuccino, Turkish, Ethiopian coffee, and so on -, it is popular and loved around the world. But is it healthy?
The truth is that coffee has some astounding health benefits, but depending on what kind of coffee you are drinking and how much, it can have some drawbacks. If you are a coffee-lover and want to take full advantage of the benefits of this popular beverage safely, there are a few strategies you can try to improve your experience.
In this article, you will learn about the benefits of coffee. I will discuss what role polyphenols play in the benefits. You will understand the drawbacks of this popular drink. I will share my 5 strategies to get more benefits from your morning cup of Joe. I will also recommend my favorite organic coffee to support your health and optimize your morning.
Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is not just a delicious morning drink, but it also offers some fantastic health benefits. I am not talking about the false sense of energy after a sleepless night, but true health benefits.
The benefits of coffee for energy and brain performance have been well researched for decades. A 1993 study published in Neuropsychobiology and a 2000 study published in Psychopharmacology has both found that coffee can improve your alertness, energy, and performance levels during the day (1, 2). As a 1982 study published in Life Sciences explained, when you drink it, caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream and then makes its way to your brain (3).
According to a 1996 study published in Pharmacology & Toxicology, caffeine blocks adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain (4). This leads to an increase of dopamine and norepinephrine which causes increased neuron activity in your brain.
Several studies, including a 2002 study published in Pharmacology and a 2008 review published in Nutrition Bulletin have found that coffee can improve your brain function in a variety of ways, including boosting memory, energy, and mood (5, 6). Coffee may also be good for neurodegenerative conditions. According to a 2002 study published in the European Journal of Neurology, it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (7).
If you want to lose weight, or more specifically, lose fat, coffee may be able to help you with that too. Caffeine in coffee is a natural substance that can help your body to burn fat more effectively. According to a 1989 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, coffee can influence thermogenesis and the daily expenditure of energy (8). The study has found that only 100 mg of caffeine has increased the metabolic rate of participants by 3 to 4 percent within 150 minutes and 8 to 11 percent after 12 hours of 2-hour caffeine intake intervals.
A 1995 study published in the Annals of Nutrition Metabolism has discovered a 4 to 7 percent boost in metabolism from 200 mg of caffeine in coffee after 3 hours (9). It is possible, however, the fat-burning benefits of coffee are lower in long-time drinkers. Remember, a healthy diet and lifestyle are critical for fat burning and a healthy weight, you can’t simply rely on your morning joe.
Blood sugar imbalances are a serious problem. They increase your risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic health issue that is characterized by increased blood sugar levels and your body’s inability to secrete insulin or use it properly is affecting millions of people around the globe. Coffee may be beneficial for those with blood sugar imbalances.
A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day can contribute to a 30 percent reduced risk of diabetes (10). A 2005 systematic review published in JAMA has found that habitual consumption of coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (11). A 2009 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes by 7 percent (12).
Autophagy refers to cellular recycling where the cell itself metabolizes various components in order to reuse them and build new and healthier cells. Your cells contain organelles, which are smaller components. When your cells are exposed to a stressor, such as nutrient deprivation, it triggers autophagy.
Your cells create phagophores, a double-membrane structure that surrounds cellular components and transports them to lysosomes. Lysosomes are unique organelles that degrade old and damaged cellular components with degrading enzymes leaving room for the body to create new and healthy cells.
It turns out, drinking coffee may help to improve autophagy. According to 2014 in vivo research published in Cell Cycle has found that coffee may improve cellular autophagy (13). The study has found that the polyphenols in coffee can induce autophagy and also reduce acetylation levels of proteins. By stimulating autophagy, coffee may help to lower the risk of metabolic and other diseases and reduce mortality.
Coffee may also be good news if you are struggling with constipation. Coffee stimulates the muscles inside your colon and helps peristalsis, the involuntary tension, and relaxation of muscles in your intestines that may help your bowel movement. It can help motility, digestion, and excretion. According to a 1990 study published in Gut, coffee has increased gut motility in 58 male and 34 female healthy volunteers and the effects lasted for up to 30 minutes (14).
While some of the benefits of coffee can be contributed to caffeine, it’s not the case when it comes to your bowel movements. It looks like the effects are similar to decaf coffee as well. The acidity of coffee triggers an increase stomach acid and gastric acid levels that may stimulate your bowels and cause bowel movements.
Polyphenols in Coffee
Coffee is rich in polyphenols, which are micronutrients with an array of health benefits, including autophagy, better blood sugar, and fat burning. According to a 2015 study published by Academic Press polyphenols in coffee may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease parameters, including high blood pressure and cholesterol (15). A 2014 in vivo research published in Cell Cycle has found that coffee may improve autophagy and cellular renewal (13).
A 2015 study published in Nutrition Research has found that coffee polyphenols have improved hyperglycemia associated with impaired vascular endothelial function in healthy male participants and as a result lowered the risk of oxidative stress as well (16). Polyphenols in coffee may also help to reduce blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes. A 2017 review of human trials published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity has found that polyphenols can help to decrease blood sugar and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes (17).
Chlorogenic Acid (CGA): The most abundant polyphenol found in coffee which scavenges free radicals. CGA concentration in a single coffee serving ranges from 20-675 mg depending on the type of bean, roasting temperature, and brewing method. Some CGA is lost during the roasting process.
Melanoidins: Brown colored substances which are formed during the roasting process and give coffee its aroma, flavor and color. This antioxidant appears to increase in abundance during the roasting process and not only serves to remove damaging free radicals, but also helps to detoxify the body of metals.
Caffeine: Not only a central nervous system stimulant, caffeine has been shown to reduce the activity of free radicals and therefore acts as an antioxidant. The caffeine content in beans range from 0 mg/serving in decaffeinated coffee (decaffeinated beans do typically contain a minor concentration of caffeine) to 322 mg/serving in espresso coffee. Most people do best with 50-150mg or so in a sitting and it is important to be careful not to overwhelm your system with caffeine.
The Downside of Coffee
Unfortunately, drinking coffee or drinking too much coffee can have it’s downsides as well. Let’s look at some of the problems that may arise.
Coffee can, unfortunately, be toxic that can lead to headaches, sickness, fatigue, and other chronic health issues. The majority of coffee, especially cheaper brands, sold in the United States are not organic. If you are getting non-organic coffee it means you will be consuming these pesticides.
According to a 2012 study published in Shokuhin Eiseigaky Zasshi (Japanese), while much of the pesticide residue disappears during the roasting process, not all does, some pesticides are very resistant to heat (18). Pesticides can lead to a variety of adverse health effects, including digestive issues, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, chronic pain, and chronic health issues.
Mycotoxins are toxins coming from fungi and mold. According to a 2003 study published in Food Additives and Contaminants, up to 91 percent of green coffee beans are affected by mold, while (19). A 1995 study published in Food Chemicals and Toxicology has found that about half of commercially brewed coffees are affected by mold (20).
Drinking low-quality, moldy coffee can become a serious problem and lead to an array of chronic symptoms and health issues. If you don’t feel good drinking traditional coffee it may be due to a reaction you are having to mycotoxins. Look for a mycotoxin free version that is 3rd party tested for purity. I will go over my favorite USDA certified organic, mycotoxin free brand that I use at the bottom of this article.
Coffee may also be a mild diuretic. It can make you pee and also increase the risk of dehydration. According to a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, has found that coffee high in caffeine can have short-term dehydrating effects (21).
However, as a 1997 study published in the Annals of Nutritional Metabolism has shown, to experience fluid imbalance or dehydration, you have to drink a lot of coffee, up to 6 cups. This, however, may also depend on the person, and it’s important that you understand your body (22).
Problems With Too Much Caffeine
According to a 2017 review published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, drinking low to moderate amounts of caffeine is safe for most individuals (23). However, too much caffeine can become an issue. Too much coffee can affect your mood, stress levels, sleep, concentration, and other areas of your health.
Remember, it is all individual. For some people, even a little bit of caffeine can be too much. According to a 2005 study published in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, caffeine can increase anxiety and sleep issues (24). People with eating disorders may also misuse it leading to complications. Coffee can also lead to addictions.
According to a 2012 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependency, not drinking coffee can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, mood issues, concentration difficulties, and flu-like symptoms in heavy coffee drinkers (25).
While coffee can support digestion by assisting bowel movements, it can also lead to digestive disturbances. While in most, coffee only helps with elimination, in some, drinking too much coffee can increase diarrhea or other digestive symptoms.
According to a 2009 population-based study published in Gastroenterology Research, coffee can contribute to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (26). Some types of coffee are very acidic and can cause stomach irritation. To avoid these effects, look for shade-grown which is low-acid coffee.
5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Coffee
If you love coffee and want to enjoy its benefits safely, I have several recommendations for you. When you apply these strategies, you will avoid the challenges that may come with caffeine and you enhance the fat burning, energy and mental clarity you get from drinking your coffee.
The people I have worked with that have followed these strategies have raved about how good they feel when they do these things. Here are my 5 tips to get the most out of your coffee.
Drink it 90 Minutes After Waking
While for most people drinking coffee is a morning tradition after waking, it may be better to wait. Understanding the cortisol awakening cycle as explained in Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior (2016) is important (27). Your body naturally increases cortisol when you wake up.
Adding coffee to that mix when your body is naturally high on cortisol may not be as effective. Instead of experiencing an energy boost from caffeine, you may feel fewer benefits and may just build up a tolerance. Instead, I recommend that you wait for about 90 minutes after waking up with your first cup when your cortisol levels are lower.
Add a Pinch of Salt
This may seem strange, but don’t worry, you won’t find your coffee salty and you will be happy to experience its health benefits. If for some reason, you don’t like the pinch of salt in your warm bevergae, you can take it on the side and just put the pinch of salt on your tongue. It is always good to use a high quality sea salt such as Redmond’s Real Salt, Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt.
Add Healthy Fat
Coffee may already help fat loss, blood sugar levels, digestion, and autophagy (8, 9, 10, 13, 15). Why not add some healthy fats and in particular a C8 only MCT oil to the mix to improve these benefits and support a state of nutritional ketosis and fat loss.
According to a 2018 randomized controlled clinical trial published in the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) support ketosis (28). The C8 – Caprylic acid form of MCT is the one that is easiest to digest and drives up ketones the quickest in the brain.
These ketones give you better mental energy, reduce hunger and cravings and give you better mental endurance. I recommend that you add a tablespoon of C8 MCT Oil, like Keto Brain C8 MCT Oil, to your coffee to drive up ketones.
Consider Taking Magnesium with Your Coffee
Coffee is already great for boosting your brain power (5, 6). To enhance this benefit, I love to add some magnesium to the mix. According to a 2010 study published in Neuron, magnesium helps to boost your brain power by improving your cognition, memory, and learning (29).
I recommend that you add 1-2 scoops of Unsweetened Brain Calm Magnesium. I love this trick. Just a boost of magnesium helps to improve my focus and concentration even more without the burn out many people experience with coffee.
Use an Organic, Mycotoxin Free, Shade Grown Coffee
Low-quality conventional coffee is not great. Pesticides and mycotoxin in coffee can be harmful to your health (18, 19, 20). It is important that you drink high-quality, organic, mycotoxin-free, and shade-grown coffee for optimal benefits and safety.
I personally love and highly recommend Lifeboost Coffee. This coffee is organic, free from GMO, shade-grown, sun-dried, pesticide and chemical-free, full of antioxidants, stomach-friendly, less acidic than most coffee, and fairly traded with a 2-year shelf life. Most importantly, it is absolutely delicious.
Coffee is loved around the world. It has many fantastic health benefits but it may have some drawbacks as well. It is important that you choose high-quality, organic coffee for full benefits and drink it in moderation to eliminate the drawbacks.
Try my 5 strategies to get more benefits from your caffeinated beverages. Make sure to check out my recommendation and try my favorite brand, Lifeboost Coffee to support your health and optimize your morning.