By Dr. Will Cole
If there’s one thing that could unite people from all over the world, that would be coffee. This beloved beverage is embraced by cultures around the globe and is consumed on a daily basis by up to 65% of Americans and 40% of the world’s entire population. Not only does coffee taste delicious and offer us a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, but it also possesses a variety of health benefits that can support our vitality and longevity.
However, not all coffee is created equal. As a functional medicine practitioner, I have spent the last 10+ years consulting patients all around the world via my telehealth functional medicine clinic on how to overcome their symptoms naturally by identifying and addressing the root cause of their health problems. From autoimmune conditions to gut dysfunctions to hormone imbalances, I have seen firsthand the profound impact food has to either fuel health or feed disease - coffee included. So grab your favorite mug, and let’s take a deep dive into the wonderful world of coffee and its relationship to your health through the lens of functional medicine.
Why the type of coffee you drink matters
While coffee itself possesses a host of potential health benefits, the quality and sourcing of your brew can greatly impact its overall impact on your well-being. Especially if it is something you drink on a daily basis. Opting for high-quality, organic coffee ensures that you are not consuming harmful pesticides, herbicides, or other toxins that may be present in most conventional coffee beans.
In fact, coffee is one of the most likely foods to contain mycotoxins from mold since the roasting process isn’t enough to destroy them. That’s why it is crucial to look for organic coffee brands like Purity Coffee that are also labeled mold-free as mycotoxins have been linked to chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
By selecting organic coffee, you are not only safeguarding yourself against potential chemical exposure but also supporting sustainable agricultural practices. Plus, organic coffee tends to just taste better and have richer flavors, so why wouldn’t you want to make the switch?
What are the health benefits of coffee?
With coffee being such a beloved beverage, researchers have long studied coffee’s impact on our health to determine just how much of this delicious drink we can enjoy. And thankfully, they’ve found some amazing reasons to pour ourselves another cup!
2. Coffee can increase longevity
If you want to live longer, make sure to drink your daily cup of coffee! Research has found that regular coffee consumption can enhance longevity by protecting against health problems like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity.
3. Coffee can improve your memory
My favorite ways to enjoy coffee
How you drink your coffee can also be just as important to your health as the type of coffee you drink. Next time you make yourself a cup, take these factors into consideration to sip your way to better health!
1. Be mindful of your sweeteners
It’s one thing to choose organic coffee, but if you are loading up your cup with heaps of processed sugar and syrups, it can be equally detrimental for your health. And don’t even get me started on those sugar-free sweeteners! Try swapping out your regular sugar for more gut-friendly options such as raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or stevia.
2. Experiment with homemade creamers
Most of the creamers you buy at the store are filled with sugar and all the unhealthy fake sweeteners you are trying to avoid. Not only does making your own homemade creamers give you control over what sweeteners you are using, it also allows you to choose healthier options for milk whether you use dairy-free oat, almond, or coconut milk or purchase organic, grass-fed dairy.
Things to consider
While many of us turn to coffee to boost our energy, it can put strain on the adrenal glands by further increasing already high cortisol production for those with adrenal fatigue. Limiting coffee intake allows the adrenal glands to rest and recover to facilitate the healing process and support overall adrenal health.
In a healthy individual, the body’s lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is responsible for preventing stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. But in the case of acid reflux, the LES doesn’t function properly to prevent the backflow of stomach acid. Coffee can be troublesome for those who struggle with acid reflux because the high levels of caffeine and chlorogenic acid content in coffee can weaken your body’s LES and stimulate the production of stomach acid, further perpetuating acid reflux symptoms.
Known as the “caffeine gene,” CYP1A2 determines how quickly (or slowly) you metabolize caffeine. If you have two slow variants of this gene, you’re a slow metabolizer and at a higher risk for adverse effects from caffeine. For example, studies have found that slow metabolizers have a higher risk of heart attacks, digestive disorders, and cortisol spikes from drinking coffee.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking coffee altogether, as those risks only increase with more than 2 cups of coffee per day. So how do you know if you’re a slow metabolizer? If coffee makes you feel jittery or anxious, chances are you don’t tolerate coffee as well as your fast metabolizing friends who feel minimal effects from a cup (or two!) of coffee.
If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, I recommend adding a little coconut oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter to your cup of coffee, as these fats can slow down the absorption of caffeine to provide a more sustained release of energy and minimize any potential crash that might come later.
In pursuing better health, reconsidering the type of coffee you drink and how you drink it can be a simple way to make a big change in your health for the better. By embracing organic varieties from brands like Purity Coffee that understand the impact these factors have on your health, you can sip with confidence, knowing that your choice aligns with your wellbeing and your tastebuds!