Posted on 03/28/2016 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By Dr. Lisa Metzgar, PhD:
There is such a debate on whether or not coffee is healthy for us. I have been doing a lot of research on this age-old debate and have found some pretty compelling evidence that coffee for the most part has some very beneficial attributes. Yes…there are many healthy reasons to have that morning cup of joe. Here are my top three:
Reason #1: Coffee may help your gut flora, which is linked to your overall health and immune system.
As a nutritionist, I am very interested in the research of the gut microbiome and how nutritional ingredients like EpiCor has been shown in sophisticated digestive models to help boost the health of our gut. It seems that coffee also has beneficial fiber that is extracted from the coffee beans that help feed our healthy gut bacteria. A German study has found that “beneficial gut microbes can easily digest the coffee-bean fiber left in brewed liquid and extract its energy for their growth. Because the waste products of that digestion—also called fermentation—can repel some disease-causing bacteria, the new data suggest that coffee drinking might represent more of a benefit than a vice.”(1) The research showed that two beneficial bacterial groups had a 60% growth boost in the 24 hours after consuming the coffee.
Reason #2: Coffee has lots of antioxidants.
Coffee is the number one way that adults get their antioxidants, probably because we drink so much of it. Antioxidants are known for so many beneficial things, but most importantly helping protect the body from oxidative damage, supporting healthy aging and combating inflammation.
It is especially high in a class of antioxidants called quinines.(2) These types of antioxidants seem to become more potent with the roasting process, and combined with the magnesium in the coffee bean, helps lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, which leads to Reason #3.
Reason #3: Coffee may help with Type 2 Diabetes.
There is a lot of research regarding the effect of coffee on blood sugars and insulin. It seems in the short term, coffee can increase blood sugars and insulin resistance. However, for those who have been drinking coffee for a long time, it seems there is a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. These studies were done on people who were not diabetic. When drinking coffee over a long term, it seems we develop a tolerance, which may be what is responsible for the protective factor.(3) For those with diabetes, it seems this is not the case so beware of drinking too much coffee if you are already diabetic.
Although though I’ve listed some good reasons why coffee could be good for you, there are all kinds of unhealthy ways to drink coffee these day. Popular coffee shops that dot every corner of the city with their overly sweetened and creamed lattes and frappuccinos. Drinking a café mocha every day can lead to blood sugar spikes and weight gain. Having too much sugar in your diet can also lead to an imbalance in your gut flora. Sugar feeds the unhealthy gut bacteria and it creates an imbalance. Our healthy gut flora helps us to process nutrients from our food and when the bad bacteria start to take over, we don’t get the nutrients we need. This makes it difficult to lose weight. A study with mice shows that gut flora from an unhealthy, overweight mouse that is put in a healthy, thin mouse will make the thin mouse start to gain weight.(4) The opposite is also true, an overweight mouse will start to lose weight when the healthy gut flora is put into their system.
So what are the healthiest ways to enjoy your morning picker upper? Here are a few tips for you:
- One cup fresh brewed coffee with about one teaspoon organic coconut oil and one teaspoon grass fed butter…blend and enjoy! It tastes just like a creamy latte
- Add a little almond or cashew milk instead of regular milk. To add some sweetness without all the sugar, try adding some cinnamon, which also helps keep blood sugar levels more level.
- Do you like mochas? You can add some organic cocoa powder, which will help boost the antioxidant levels of your coffee.
- To make your coffee less acidic, use organic coffee beans and make with alkaline water.