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Coffee: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

by | Jun 7, 2021 | Nutrition

I love coffee! I’m not sure I would have gotten through med school and residency without my loyal cup of joe. At one point, my husband asked if I had a coffee membership (like a gym membership) to our local coffee roaster! At different points on my wellness journey, I’ve felt conflicted about the health benefits of coffee. At times, I’ve even eliminated coffee altogether.

Coffee takes a lot of hits in some health tribes and is boasted in others. This confusion is likely why I often get asked, “Do you still drink coffee?” (See the P.S. for my answer.) If you’re a wee bit curious about the pros and cons of coffee and how to upgrade your cup of joe with ease, keep reading!

 

THE GOOD: FAIR-TRADE & ORGANIC WITH A BOOST

Over the years, coffee has battled a bad health rap. For example, have you ever heard that coffee dehydrates you? Causes osteoporosis, heart disease, even cancer? Scientific studies have since debunked these myths.

Current research shows the abundance of healthy antioxidants and compounds found in coffee support cell, brain, and liver health. That can translate into more energy, better mood, memory, and concentration. Coffee can help exercise feel more effortless, increase your metabolism, and even boost your ability to burn fat!

To protect the healthy antioxidants and compounds found in coffee, I avoid over-roasted or burnt beans. The fair-trade organic coffee I use has green tea extract to boost its antioxidant strength and coconut oil for a hint of nuttiness. This creates a smooth, creamy finish – without cream or sugar. That’s a massive improvement from my college days when I routinely downed 20 oz caffè mochas pumped full of chocolate, milk, and espresso.

My favorite coffee also has seaweed-derived calcium and magnesium with trace minerals to boost its nutritional profile and offset the acidity. Minerals and trace minerals are essential for vibrant health: calcium for bone health and magnesium for brain health. Trace minerals include the iron in our blood, the iodine in our thyroid hormone, and zinc for our immune system.

Over the years, coffee has battled a bad health rap. For example, have you ever heard that coffee dehydrates you? Causes osteoporosis, heart disease, even cancer? Scientific studies have since debunked these myths.

THE BAD: MYCOTOXINS & HEAVY METALS

Strongly consider upgrading your cup of joe to be free of mycotoxins and heavy metals.

Heavy metals can leach into food (and coffee beans) through the soil. Certified organic products are guaranteed to be free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, but not heavy metals. So pick a fair-trade organic coffee from a company that tests for heavy metals as well as mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are produced by mold-contaminated crops, including coffee. According to the World Health Organization, mycotoxins’ long-term adverse health effects include immune deficiency and cancer. So leave moldy coffee on the shelf and go with a coffee tested to be mycotoxin-free.

Strongly consider upgrading your cup of joe to be free of mycotoxins and heavy metals.

THE UGLY: TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Too much caffeine is not good. But how much is too much? It depends. I learned that first-hand on a four-day cleanse with my friend whose daily caffeine consumption equaled mine or more. I had withdrawal symptoms. She had none. Nada! Nothing. Which made me go, “Hmmm. Why is that?” 

The way our bodies break down caffeine varies a great deal by genetics. Fast metabolizers do an excellent job of breaking down caffeine. In contrast, slow metabolizers may need to limit or avoid caffeine altogether to steer clear from jitters, anxiety, or sleep problems. Even fast metabolizers should avoid caffeine within 6 hours of their ideal bedtime for quality sleep. Sleep is critical for vibrant health!

Curious if you’re a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine? Test your genetics and discover how much caffeine is too much for you.

If coffee is a part of your healthy lifestyle, enjoy tapping into the beneficial antioxidants and compounds it brings. Be sure to go fair-trade organic and choose companies that test for heavy metals and mycotoxins. Upgrade your coffee with green tea antioxidants, minerals to reduce acidity, and coconut oil for a hint of nutty deliciousness. From one coffee lover to another, you won’t be disappointed!

 

#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange

Rise stronger,

P.S. It wasn’t until I linked massive pain to coffee that I released the habit for good. All change starts with brutal honesty. Even though I wanted to deny it, there was a part of me that knew coffee was contributing to my digestive dis-ease. And if I could just bridge the temporary pain of change, the ultimate pleasure of digestive ease would be mine. Yes, I really do play these mind games with myself. And yes, they really do work. I’m no longer a coffee drinker. It took me three decades to release coffee. Sometimes, we can have a thick skull, holding on to these pesky patterns that are literally pestering us daily. It’s crazy, but you know it’s true. Read How I Weaned Off Coffee.

About the Author: Dr. Sue

Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.

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