Coffee & Health
Guilty Pleasure or Natural Superfood?Coffee is one of the most widely consumed food products on earth—but quite possibly the most misunderstood. From its origins in Ethiopia, to this very day, coffee has been surrounded by controversy, confusion and misinformation. What is it about this mysterious beverage, with its unique properties, that has made it the center of so much contention for hundreds of years?
Coffee Lore and Misinformation
So, coffee became our guilty pleasure.
Science has determined that coffee is good for youVery good for you, in fact. Research has shown that 3-5 cups of coffee per day has an astonishing array of health benefits.
Coffee's health benefits have been extensively researched and generally agreed upon.Over 19,000 studies have been conducted on coffee and health, yet the vast majority of these findings have yet to reach the general public. New studies are constantly being added to the already large body of scientific evidence, but taken overall, current research indicates that 3-5 cups of coffee per day will have an astonishingly wide range of diverse health benefits. The most astounding research on coffee is the research surrounding coffee and disease prevention and in some cases, even the reversal of symptoms.
Coffee is in a class by itself when it comes to health and wellness properties.Several well conducted studies show that coffee drinkers live longer overall and have a lower risk of premature death from any cause. In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women, over a period of 18-24 years1.
So, what is the TRUTH about coffee?Drinking coffee is one of the healthiest things you can do to protect yourself against major diseases, increase physical performance, enhance brain function and contribute to longevity. With such astounding health benefits, coffee could be considered a natural super food.
But not all coffees are created equal...
The Adverse Effects of Mass-Produced CoffeeDespite the wide range of general health benefits, poor production practices can compromise the health attributes of coffee at nearly every step in the process. Many adverse effects and health risks have to do with toxins, which do not appear in the natural green coffee bean itself, but in the growing, processing, storage and shipping of coffee. These toxins include: Ochratoxin A, Acrylamide and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), which appear to result from unchecked production and roasting practices. Other adverse effects have to do with caffeine and particular acids found in coffee.
Toxins that Can Be Found in CoffeeOchratoxin A is a natural poison that is highly toxic to the kidneys. It is produced by a few types of molds found on raw, or "green", coffee beans, often caused by collecting beans from decomposing fruits, or by some unhealthy fermentation processes. Acrylamide is a naturally occurring chemical, found in a wide range of cooked foods such as French fries, breads, cookies, cereals and coffee, which is known to cause cancer in animals. The coffee roasting process can create, change and destroy acrylamide, all in the same roast batch, depending on several variables. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are burned compounds that can be present in any food that is roasted. High temperature roasting processes can form undesirable PAHs. Pesticides may be present, since coffee is known to be heavily chemically treated during cultivation. Of the coffees worldwide, 97% are treated with pesticides and other chemicals, while only 3% of the coffees available today are organic. Some farmers use low-toxicity pesticides responsibly, but many do not, and it is quite difficult to monitor. Some state that the roasting process destroys pesticides, but research suggests that the chemicals actually penetrate the green bean, and that roasting fails to eradicate most of them.
Other Adverse Effects
What Science Knows, But Most Customers Do NotThe health benefits of coffee can be greatly enhanced, and the adverse effects can be decreased-- some even eliminated-- through conscious sourcing, roasting and processing. On its journey from the ripe coffee cherry, to the brewed coffee in your cup, there are many ways that the health benefits of coffee will be affected. At Purity Coffee, we’re committed to studying all of them and constantly applying and testing improvements to enhance the health benefits of coffee. We are also committed to collaborating with everyone in the seed-to-cup chain of custody of the coffee... Historically, cost has been the predominant driver in the sourcing and production of coffee. The more care and conscientious production practices are used, the higher the cost, and that cost is not always absorbed by the consumer unless it improves the taste.
Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., Yikyung Park, Sc.D., Christian C. Abnet, Ph.D., Albert R. Hollenbeck, Ph.D., and Rashmi Sinha, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1891-1904, May 17, 2012, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1112010