Coffee Health Benefits: All You Need To Know About Doing it Right.
The coffee debate is polarising, and there is much evidence to show that coffee can either be a hero or a villain, depending on how you consume it. Today we explore coffee as a mitigator for disease and some ways you can optimize your morning brew to ensure it supports health and vitality.
Coffee Health Benefits
Coffee has been studied for its various health benefits across multiple diseases and health challenges.
1. Type 2 Diabetes
Dozens of studies examine the link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.1 Although the relationship is not completely understood, experts believe it is connected to coffee’s ability to preserve the proper function of the pancreas’ beta cells. These cells are responsible for producing insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels in the body.2
2. Supports Healthy Weight
Studies suggest that coffee may support healthy weight management due to caffeine’s ability to alter fat storage and promote gut health.3 Another reason coffee consumption can support a healthy weight is that those who drink coffee are more likely to exercise. A study highlights that drinking one to two cups daily increases the likelihood of meeting daily movement requirements by 17%.4
3. Supports Cognitive Health
According to the data, drinking coffee can support cognitive health in various ways. For example, studies highlight coffee’s ability to improve concentration and performance.5 Some studies also suggest that drinking coffee can reduce the likelihood and even reverse symptoms of cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.6
4. Supports Heart Health
Research shows that coffee consumption is associated with heart health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.7-8 Both studies indicated that benefits for coffee and heart health are linked to a rather high consumption of three to five cups per day! Since coffee consumption at higher levels can affect things like blood pressure, it’s important to consider your overall health before upping your coffee consumption dramatically in the name of heart health.9
5. Decreases Chances of Depression
Drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of developing symptoms of depression. For each cup of coffee consumed, one overview of seven studies highlights that each cup decreased the link to depression by 8% per cup.10 Another study highlights four cups as the ideal amount for optimal benefit in reducing these risks.11
How to Optimize Your Coffee
Although coffee has many health benefits, it’s never black and white. How and when you drink coffee makes all the difference. Having coffee mindlessly can even turn a potentially health-promoting beverage into something that can derail your health goals altogether. From toxins to appetite suppression to adrenal fatigue: these tips will help ensure that your cup of coffee helps instead of harming your goals.
1. Food First
Caffeine is an appetite suppressant, so having it first thing can derail your body’s hunger cues. Although this may seem appealing to some, it prevents you from adequately fuelling your body for the day, including any exercise or mental strain you may be participating in. In the short run, this can lead to body fat loss, but in the long run, it can down-regulate your metabolism, and chronic stress can lead to many health conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and weight gain.12
2. Go Organic and Mold-Free
Coffee is one of the crops most sprayed with pesticides in the world. As a result, many coffee beans are contaminated with pesticide residue that can turn your cup of coffee into toxic stress to your liver. Another form of stress that is commonly found in coffee is various molds, which produce toxic metabolites called mycotoxins.13 Although many generic brands of coffee don’t concern themselves with these toxins, an increasing amount of awareness has generated an entire industry around organic, mold-free coffee.
Purity Coffee is one brand that offers lab-tested, mold-free, organic beans you can trust to provide you with all the health benefits of coffee without the toxic load.
3. Skip the Sugar
Adding too much sugar to your coffee can result in major blood-sugar dysregulation. Blood sugar dysregulation is associated with various health concerns, from mood swings to energy crashes, and when it becomes a chronic problem, it can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.14 Starting your day with something too sweet can also promote sugar cravings all day, reinforcing dysregulated blood sugar even more.
If you need the sweetness, opt for a more balanced blood-sugar option like Stevia. Many people have had lots of success substituting their coffee sweeteners with a high-fat option instead. Certain fats, like coconut butter, offer a great naturally sweet and fatty substitute for sugar.
Adding fat to your coffee is a great way to nourish yourself and promote more sustained energy without the crash.15 You can add many fats to your coffee, including ghee, MCT oil, or coconut oil. Find a flavor that works for you, and use a whisk or blender to emulsify the fat. Adding fat adds a richness that can easily substitute sugar so that you can start your day with more ketones instead of glucose.
MCT, like Numedica MCT Oil, is a medium-chain-triglyceride oil made from coconut that emulsifies well in coffee. These MCTs are also known because they promote fat-burning.
Collagen is another great addition to a morning coffee. This flavorless protein can be seamlessly incorporated using an electric whisk or blender, increasing your daily protein.
Most people aren’t consuming enough protein. Essential for building and maintaining muscle, protein also helps balance blood sugar and help you feel satiated. By adding fat and protein to your coffee, you are turning your beverage into a nourishing and satiating food that energizes you through caffeine and with real nutrients.
You can opt for a plain, flavorless collagen powder like MB by Systemic Formulas or chocolate-flavored collagen like the Great Lakes Chocolate Collagen. Collagen is the hydrolyzed version of gelatin, which you can also use in coffee for a protein boost; the preparation is slightly different. First, bloom the gelatin by letting it sit in water until it becomes a thick paste. After that, blend it normally in your hot coffee until it dissolves. Collagen can be used straight away in either hot or cold coffee.
There are also collagen-based keto creamers like the Keto Collagen Creamer by Great Lakes, which combines collagen with MCT powder.
6. Cycle it
Coffee is not free energy. Instead, it energizes you by blocking the adenosine receptors, preventing you from experiencing tiredness. It is, therefore, important to realize that too much coffee, all the time, can prevent you from experiencing your baseline energy levels.
For many people, coffee is one of the priorities in the morning and before exercise, meaning they may not experience their true exhaustion. Sleep should be your main source of regenerative energy; if it isn’t, something must be addressed. Cycling coffee on and off allows you to check your true energy levels and ensure that your caffeine consumption isn’t propping up adrenal fatigue or other diagnoses associated with deep depletion states.
A great way to maintain the ritual of your morning coffee without the caffeine is opting for a high-quality decaf like Purity Coffee, which lab-tests its organic coffee for mold and decaffeinates its beans without nasty chemicals.
7. Avoid it After noon
Although some people feel like they can have a coffee before bed and sleep well, studies suggest caffeine disrupts sleep quality. Since the half-life of caffeine is 4-6 hours, having coffee afternoon means caffeine is still present in your system at bedtime, which means your adenosine receptors will be partially blocked, preventing melatonin from doing its job to induce deep sleep.16
Afternoon, you can opt for decaf or continue the ritual of a warm beverage with herbal tea.
8. Boost It
You can add so many ingredients to your coffee to boost it with extra vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and various other nutritional benefits. Some ingredients will change the flavor, others will not, so finding something you enjoy is important to make the habit sustainable. Some ideas to supercharge your coffee include:
- An egg yolk
- A pinch of salt
- Full-spectrum multimineral drops
- Beetroot powder
- Coconut butter
- Vanilla extract
Coffee has many health benefits but can also interfere with your health goals if not consumed mindfully. Some ways to ensure you reap the most out of your coffee for health purposes include eating food first, going organic and mold-free, adding fat and collagen to your coffee, cycling on/ off with caffeinated coffee, and avoiding it after noon.
- Carlström, Mattias, and Susanna C Larsson. “Coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” Nutrition reviews vol. 76,6 (2018): 395-417. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuy014
- Kolb, Hubert, et al. “Coffee and Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Arguments for a Causal Relationship.” Nutrients vol. 13,4 1144. 31 Mar. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13041144
- Sirotkin, A V, and A Kolesárová. “The anti-obesity and health-promoting effects of tea and coffee.” Physiological research vol. 70,2 (2021): 161-168. doi:10.33549/physiolres.934674
- Torquati, Luciana, et al. “A Daily Cup of Tea or Coffee May Keep You Moving: Association between Tea and Coffee Consumption and Physical Activity.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 15,9 1812. 22 Aug. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijerph15091812
- Mumford, Petey W et al. “Effect of Caffeine on Golf Performance and Fatigue during a Competitive Tournament.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol. 48,1 (2016): 132-8. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000753
- Hong, Chien Tai et al. “The Effect of Caffeine on the Risk and Progression of Parkinson’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis.” Nutrients vol. 12,6 1860. 22 Jun. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12061860
- Rodríguez-Artalejo, Fernando, and Esther López-García. “Coffee Consumption and Cardiovascular Disease: A Condensed Review of Epidemiological Evidence and Mechanisms.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry vol. 66,21 (2018): 5257-5263. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04506
- Shao, Chuan et al. “Coffee Consumption and Stroke Risk: Evidence from a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of more than 2.4 Million Men and Women.” Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases: the official journal of National Stroke Association vol. 30,1 (2021): 105452. doi:10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105452
- Lopez-Garcia, Esther et al. “Habitual coffee consumption and 24-h blood pressure control in older adults with hypertension.” Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) vol. 35,6 (2016): 1457-1463. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2016.03.021
- Wang, Longfei et al. “Coffee and caffeine consumption and depression: A meta-analysis of observational studies.” The Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry vol. 50,3 (2016): 228-42. doi:10.1177/0004867415603131
- Navarro, Adela M et al. “Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Depression in a Middle-Aged Cohort: The SUN Project.” Nutrients vol. 10,9 1333. 19 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10091333
- Bordone, L., Guarente, L. Calorie restriction, SIRT1 and metabolism: understanding longevity. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 6, 298–305 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm1616
- de Fátima Rezende, Elisângela et al. “Ochratoxigenic fungi associated with green coffee beans (Coffea arabica L.) in conventional and organic cultivation in Brazil.” Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology] vol. 44,2 377-84. 30 Oct. 2013, doi:10.1590/S1517-83822013000200006
- “Type 2 Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec. 2021, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html.
- Crampton, Kara et al. “Investigating the Effects of a High-fat Coffee Beverage Containing Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil and Ghee on Cognitive Function and Measures of Satiety.” Current Developments in Nutrition vol. 5,Suppl 2 902. 7 Jun. 2021, doi:10.1093/cdn/nzab049_015
- Commissioner, Office of the. “Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/spilling-beans-how-much-caffeine-too-much.