For the last thirty years, most of my coaching, comments, and communications about coffee consumption have been less than complimentary and supportive. Coffee was rarely something I consumed unless it was cold outdoors, free, or spiced up with flavorings and sugar. Being surrounded by family, and friends who regularly consume coffee as well as some promotion by respected health hackers has opened my eyes to a new dimension and understanding regarding the advantages, appeal, and attraction of a good cup of coffee. After the last decade of being more objective and open and following my research, resources, and role models my beliefs regarding coffee have shifted. While I am not a coffee expert or even a regular coffee drinker, decades of reading and researching the pros and cons of drinking coffee have influenced a new opinion on the good, bad, and ugly considerations of coffee consumption.
Coffee is made from the bean/seed of the coffee fruit tree. When the coffee fruit is ripe it is harvested and the fruit and bean are separated. The coffee fruit is sometimes used to make cascara tea or may be discarded. More farmers are realizing they can develop a second cash crop by saving the fruit. The bean is usually dried and then roasted to prepare for making coffee. Many people also use green coffee beans. The coffee bean and fruit have high antioxidant and phytonutrient content. The coffee beans are usually exported for further processing and preparation into various coffee products.
Coffee is one of the most revered and traded commodities in the world. It is a key export and source of revenue for many farmers in developing countries. Tens of millions of people depend on growing coffee for their income and living. It is believed that 100 million people depend on coffee for income and livelihood. Coffee exports are a multi-billion dollar business and the downstream business of coffee sales is also a multi-billion dollar business. It is estimated that over 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis.
The Morningstar NEWS blog is passionate about helping people to identify healthy habits that help you and health hazards that hurt you. Today we will share decades of observations and life lessons about the good, bad, and ugly considerations of coffee consumption. For those people open and receptive to coffee coaching regarding coffee consumption, my goal is to share some smart strategies to help keep you happy and healthy as you enjoy your cup of coffee.
Good, Bad, and Ugly Consequences of Coffee Consumption
Like almost any beverage or food, there can be some good, some bad, and some ugly consequences associated with coffee consumption. Some variables about coffee can be controlled while many factors about coffee cannot be controlled. We can control what type of coffee we purchase, how we store it, and how we prepare it. We typically cannot control has it was grown, fermented, prepared, processed, stored, and transported. Like any crop, there is a multitude of factors that will determine the ultimate quality of the product you purchase and prepare.
There is a lot of branding, marketing, and public relations regarding various coffee brands and products. Like any product, it pays to do your homework and research the product first before you buy it. With any billion-dollar product, it is important to realize the concept of Caveat Emptor (buyer beware). While coffee may seem like a simple beverage to buy and consume it is important to realize the key quality variable that helps to determine if the coffee you buy and consume is a healthy habit or a health hazard. It is easy to buy a coffee product that may have hidden health hazards. It is also easy to do things after you buy the coffee which makes it more of a health hazard.
Coffee – Good Benefits
- Coffee is a major commodity and export crop that provides income and opportunity to millions of farming families and small businesses.
- Coffee has antioxidants and phytochemicals that may provide health benefits. The delicate oils and phytochemicals in old coffee often go rancid. It is best to buy fresh whole beans and grind them yourself. Freezing coffee can help to extend the shelf life.
- Coffee is a beverage that many people enjoy as a personal way to kick-start the day as well as a social connection. Choose fair-trade and organic coffee.
- Coffee is believed to benefit people who are looking for exercise and fitness hacks and muscle-boosting enhancements.
- A warm cup of coffee can provide gentle stimulation to the colon and help many people deal with constipation by triggering a bowel movement. For many people, this is a significant benefit.
- On a cold day, a warm cup of coffee can be a nice way to enjoy a beverage and warm water with no calories. The calories come from all the added ingredients like artificial creamers, cream, chocolate, milk, and sugar.
- Bulletproof coffee with grass-fed butter is promoted by Dave Asprey and has a significant fan following. He is one of the role models for my shift to being more open to the benefits of coffee consumption. Consider reading and researching his book and information to make a more educated decision.
Coffee – Bad Consequences
- Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. Coffee consumption may work for some people yet others can be overstimulated, upset, and wired. Too much caffeine stimulation from coffee can affect a person’s adrenal glands, cortisol, and sleep. Coffee in the afternoon and evening is more likely to affect the quality of your sleep. Consider a coffee sabbatical for three days every quarter to see if you are too addicted to caffeine and coffee.
- When people consistently use excessive amounts of coffee as a pick-me-up and wake-up beverage there can be unhealthy side effects. Consider switching to organic hot chocolate or green tea for a beneficial break.
- Because coffee is a commodity the market can be influenced and manipulated by the brokers and power players. Many times coffee farmers are financially squeezed by low and unfair pricing so the distributors and retailers end up with higher profit margins.
- Many detrimental and unhealthy practices have been introduced into coffee growing and production to promote profits at the expense of our health and the health of the environment. Buying natural and organic coffee that is grown sustainably and with some shade and without chemicals is your best choice.
- A large number of coffee beans contain mold and mycotoxins which are human health hazards. Search to find a mold-free coffee that is fair-trade and organic.
- Many companies and people add many unhealthy ingredients to their coffee. While these may help the coffee taste better they can also cause the coffee to be a health hazard instead of a healthy habit. It is best to drink your coffee black and avoid artificial ingredients. Be careful to make wise choices regarding what you add.
- Paper, plastic, and Styrofoam cups can leach harmful chemicals into your hot coffee. It is best to use a ceramic or glass mug. Insulated stainless steel travel cups may be a great compromise for many people. They can keep your coffee hotter for longer and maybe even avoid spills.
- Many of the bleached white coffee filters are made using chemical bleaches and other health hazards. Look for a healthy natural alternative.
- Many coffee shops use coffee to lure you into the store so they can sell you some crappy fake foods to go with your coffee. Buying a healthy black cup of coffee can often entice you into buying and consuming some unhealthy bagels, donuts, muffins, sweets, or treats.
Coffee – Ugly Issues
- Many farmers and growers want to maximize the number of coffee trees they can grow by totally eliminating canopy shade trees and growing the coffee crop as a monoculture crop. This is not good for the coffee trees or the environment. Coffee trees benefit from a diverse mixture of flora and fauna around them. Coffee can be grown as a more environmentally favorable and friendly crop integrated below a higher canopy tree cover that provides better fauna and flora diversity and shade.
- When coffee trees are grown as a monoculture crop they are more susceptible to disease and pests. This often results in the growers using more insecticides and pesticides which end up in the finished coffee product. Always buy organic coffee if you care about your health and longevity. Coffee monoculture crops often led to more soil erosion and result in a less environmentally diverse system.
- Many coffee farms have been using glyphosate and herbicides to kill grass and weeds. These chemicals end up in the coffee and in the farmers who grow coffee. Buy organic.
- Child labor issues, destruction of diverse environments, destruction of rainforests, and farmer exposure to chemical health hazards are major problems caused by modern coffee farming methods.
- The amount of pollution and waste associated with single-use coffee cups and lids is staggering. Most of this is never recycled and ends up in landfills. It is better to buy a quality loyalty mug from your favorite company that is travel friendly. Or buy a mug that is a quality material such as ceramic, glass, or stainless steel.
- K cups are one of the most environmentally unfriendly products that also add extra expense to drinking coffee. It is better to buy reusable stainless steel K cups and fill them yourself. You will save your health and money while also helping to reduce the excess pollution going into landfills.
Passion for People & Planet
The passion and purpose of Morningstar NEWS are to condense hundreds of hours of reading and research down to two minutes of education, information, and inspiration. This blog offers some helpful information and insight regarding coffee choices and coffee consumption. Please look further into the best ways to make coffee a more happy and healthy beverage instead of a health hazard. Also, check out some of the healthy coffee substitution beverages with cacao, herbs, maca, and medicinal mushrooms.
“Coffee can be a comfort beverage with a little caffeine kick and possible health benefits or it can be a health hazard with unhealthy artificial additives and sugar so do your homework and choose wisely.” —Michael Morningstar
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