- Find out whether coffee is healthy or not
- The three steps to selecting the finest coffee for your table
- A perfect Good Life letter solution to your coffee choice
Last Friday I mentioned some of the health benefits associated with coffee drinking.
As expected I had several emails from readers who wanted to express their love or loathing for this beverage.
Several of you told me how dangerous you thought the drink was and that I was being irresponsible for promoting it.
I totally understand the arguments about caffeine affecting sleep, mood and blood pressure but I do find it increasingly hard to say that any natural, minimally processed and carefully sourced food is 100% good or definitely bad for you…
…this just isn’t the case.
You see the big difference is how the food/drink is produced, what its constituents are and where in the world it comes from.
Before I tackle the coffee debate let me give you an example.
A bag of carrots from my local Aldi (other discount food stores are available!) costs 19p and says it was grown in the UK.
So from this bag I can make a lovely roast carrot soup, or a zingy fermented salad or just sit and munch them as a snack.
So surely health in a bag?
Not as such as these root vegetables have been grown in land which has been depleted of its vital minerals since 1940 (upto 50% of the calcium, and 25% of both magnesium and iron – Thomas, 2003).
They will also have sat in numerous warehouses as they were cleaned, bulked, packed, palletised, transported and then sub distributed, leaching and degrading the valuable vitamin content each day.
Are these carrots bad for me? Clearly if I walk down to the vegetable patch and lift a fistful of my own produce and prepare within 10 minutes of harvest they will be of premium quality in comparison… but does this mean this is the only healthy way to have my carrots?
Thus to say carrots are always good or bad for me is not easily done.
Let me explain why this also applies to coffee too.
A truly health coffee
From the outset I need to say that there IS a health danger in coffee, but it is not caffeine as many people believe, it is actually a compound called acrylamide.
This nasty substance has been categorically linked to cancer development, and this has led the Food Standards Agency in the UK to issue the following statement;
“Laboratory tests show that acrylamide in the diet causes cancer in animals. Scientists agree that acrylamide in food has the potential to cause cancer in humans as well. We recommend that the amount of acrylamide we all consume is reduced, as a precaution.”
Now that fact alone might make you instantly throw your favourite beverage into the bin, and I wouldn’t blame you but before you start to hurl the offending jar out please read on…
Acrylamide is formed when foodstuffs rich in carbohydrates are heated to temperatures over 120oC, such as when coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures for a long period of time.
All of this means that the dark roast coffee beans are likely to contain much more acrylamide than the lighter roasts.
Step one to avoiding this health risk is therefore to simply use a medium roast which hasn’t been exposed to such high temperatures.
Next we need to think about the raw ingredient, the coffee bean itself.
These are technically a berry and depending upon the variety of plant they come from and the area they are grown will significantly affect how much acrylamide is formed in them.
Varietal differences is a simple one as there are only two principle types of coffee (although many hybrids exist too) – Arabica and Robusta.
Of these the Arabica has genetically lower levels of acrylamide and if grown in temperate and humid conditions will have incredibly low levels.
So, step two – choose Arabica… but make sure that you know where it is grown.
Columbia is recognised as producing not only the finest quality coffees in the world, but as a result of its typical temperature range of between 8 and 24oC, long growing season and the altitude it is the perfect place for healthy coffee to come from.
So step three to reducing your health risk is to choose a pure Arabica coffee grown in Columbia.
Lastly we need to think about how we make the drink at home.
Acrylamide concentrates in the grind around the particles within it.
Thus the fewer ‘bits’ we get in the finished drink the lower the levels in your mug.
French Presses or Cafetieres are a popular way to make the perfect tasting morning or evening coffee and even look stylish on the table, but they do allow small amounts of particles through.
A better way to make your favourite drink is to use a paper filter as this prevents even the finest grit and dust into your mug.
So, our final step means getting a ground coffee which is suitable for use in filters.
This are your four steps to a healthy coffee, the ideal way to enjoy a fantastic tasting and uplifting drink without any of the health risks that can associated with it.
But now I have a real treat for you…
This HAS to be the perfect health supporting coffee
After many months of research I have found what I think is the absolute finest in healthy coffees.
It is a Columbian grown, medium roasted, 100% pure Arabica, organically produced ground coffee that is suitable for use in a filter machine… surely that is enough…
…but no, there is even more to recommend this coffee.
It has been infused with CBD for a turbo charged health boost.
We all know how fantastic CBD is for our bodies being known to help relieve pain, lower blood pressure, calm anxiety and boost energy levels so why not combine it with a healthy drink to make taking it a fully pleasurable experience.
It’s time you made the switch to CBD infused Columbian ground coffee.
Time for a brew, methinks!
Thomas D.(2003) A Study on the Mineral Depletion of the Foods Available to us as a Nation over the Period 1940 to 1991. Nutrition and Health. 2003;17(2):85-115.