An alarming 11.8% of American men over the age of 20 have diabetes. Needless to say, it’s a growing concern and one receiving a great deal of attention in the medical community. Between 1986 and 1998, Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
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I also tried his Bulletproof Coffee which is much smoother than regular coffee and which he claims is produced carefully to avoid the presence of mycotoxins: “Most coffee beans are processed by either leaving them in the sun and elements to wither and dry, or by pressing them and letting them ferment (spoil) to remove the outer layer of the bean. Both of these techniques are known to produce significant levels of mycotoxins as they enhance flavor. Upgraded coffee beans are mechanically processed right after picking using only clean cold water. This more expensive process is safer because it dramatically reduces harmful molds or bacteria from impacting your health.”
While they say that the results support moderate coffee drinking as a relatively healthy habit, both Poole and Guallar say the findings don’t go far enough to prompt anyone to change their coffee-drinking habits in the hopes of improving their health. The study did not confirm, for example, that people who do not currently drink coffee should start adding a cup or two a day in order to lower their risk of getting heart disease or any of the other chronic conditions studied. The data also do not support the idea that current coffee drinkers should drink even more coffee to enhance whatever benefits they might be receiving. Too much coffee, the data suggest, starts to bend the benefit curve back down.
If you’re looking for a unique coffee alternative, try mushrooms in the form of tea. A staple in traditionalChinese medicine, the soft, flat reishi mushroom makes for one invigorating (and healthy) libation. White and Foster recommend combining 1/3 ounce of chopped or powdered reishi mushroom with 3 cups of water, then bringing the tea to a boil and simmering for 30 minutes before drinking in doses.
Don’t feel bad about those days you drink a little too much coffee: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found drinking a high consumption—we’re talking more than four a day—can help reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, spine, and eyes. And not just a little—by 31 percent.
While many of us start the day with a big cup of coffee, you actually may be lowering your energy levels by doing this. How is this possible? Well, quite simply, your body releases insulin in response to the caffeine found within coffee. This, in turn, causes a major drop in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling depleted and tired. Not a great way to start your day. Munch on a small snack during your morning cup, or even eat right before you drink. Your body will thank you for it.
In 2013, the journal Epidemiology and Prevention published a review of studies analyzing the correlation between coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease. Data from 36 different studies showed that people who drink three to five cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of heart disease than those who drink no coffee or more than five cups per day.
If you are already a coffee drinker, it should be reassuring that after decades of research, no strong link can be found between coffee intake and cancer and, to the contrary, a number of health benefits seem to accompany coffee consumption. But, I’m not sure the evidence is powerful enough to recommend an increase in your daily habit. One reason is that we don’t know for sure that coffee consumption actually caused the health benefits observed in these studies. Some other, unmeasured factor could be responsible. Another reason is that the overall effect was small. And, it’s worth noting that some people are quite sensitive to the side effects of coffee.
Though these additions are all fun ways to sneak a little extra something into your morning, let’s face it—our pantries aren’t always stocked with collagen peptides, and we’re guessing your local barista won’t have ashwagandha powder on hand. But one thing Karman Meyer, R.D., recommends is including something most of us already plan on putting in our morning joe.
Coffee doesn’t only help reduce the risk of developing melanoma—it does the same for basal cell carcinoma too, which affects millions of people every year. A 2012 study of 113,000 participants published by the American Association for Cancer Research found those who drank a minimum of three cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing the skin cancer than those who didn’t.
One of the benefits of coffee beans is that they contain an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CGA) in addition to other antioxidants. Raw beans contain roughly 9 percent CGA by weight, which can help with weight loss and is a neuroprotectant. Coffee beans also help reduce inflammation, which is associated with a number of health concerns. In addition, the caffeine in coffee beans provides benefits such as reducing headaches. Understanding these health benefits can help coffee-drinkers appreciate more than just the taste of their next cup of java.
Independent studies on the coffee consumption patterns of men and women suggest that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout. Researchers in the Nurses’ Health Study analyzed the health habits of nearly 90,000 female nurses over a period of 26 years and found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout. The benefit was associated with both regular and decaf consumption: women who drank more than four cups of regular coffee daily had a 57 percent decreased risk of gout; gout risk decreased 22 percent in women who drank between one and three cups daily; and one cup of decaf per day was associated with a 23 percent reduced risk of gout when compared to the women who didn’t drink coffee at all. Similar findings have been documented for men: another large-scale study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that men who drank four to five cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of gout by 40 percent, and that those who consumed six cups or more lowered gout risk by 60 percent.
You can improve your coffee by adding real cream. This means organic and grass-fed. Cream like this can be purchased at all major health food stores, and will give you the health benefits of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). There is also usually a nice amount of vitamin K2 present in full-fat cream. This is important because adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been linked with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Full-fat cream has even been linked to more successful weight loss.
A 2014 study for Flavour found that the color of your coffee mug can influence how sweet or bitter you perceive a cup of coffee to be. Although not definitive, the study found when drinking from a white mug, subjects perceived coffee to be more intense than when drinking from a transparent mug. Of course, more research is needed, so take this study with a grain of salt, but it may be worth swapping out your white mug for a transparent one to make your coffee "taste" less bitter (and thus reduce the amount of sugar you add to it).
If you lust after those frothy frozen coffee drinks at your local coffee shop, then this mochaccino recipe is for you. This easy homemade version uses low-fat milk, cocoa powder, coffee and just a little bit of maple syrup, so it has a fraction of the calories of a traditional version. (A small mocha frappuccino at Starbucks is 270 calories!) Coffee ice cubes, made by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray, make this drink frosty and give it a big, strong coffee flavor. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.
Additional Notes: I take my fermented cod liver oil right before drinking this to give all the fat soluble vitamins some beneficial fats to digest with. If you aren’t regularly taking coconut oil, start with a teaspoon and work up, as too much at once might upset your stomach. Coconut oil often increases metabolism and some people notice feeling warmer or like their heart is racing if they start off too fast.
A morning cup of coffee can be a great thing. Coffee consumption has been linked to longer life, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and it’s also a wonderful source of antioxidants, But all these health benefits can be canceled out if you’re loading your latte with tons of cream, sugar, and chemical-filled syrups.
In the Hungry For Change Book we discuss the addictive nature of caffeine and when consumed in large quantities, can lead to adrenal fatigue. Coffee is also a diuretic, meaning it purges water from your body. That said, if you want to function at a high level and remain well hydrated, then it would be a better choice to replace coffee with a natural alternative. The list below provides some great tasting substitutes.