Why I Started Drinking Coffee Everyday (and how I like to drink it!)
Coffee consumption is a "hot" topic (no pun intended...) in the health and wellness world: some say it's bad for you, some say it's good for you, and some don't care either way: they will never give up their java! Regardless of which category you fall into, no one can deny that coffee is a staple in this country: it is the second most widely consumed beverage in the US, second only to water (1). Something else we can no longer deny? The alarming evidence that your morning mug might just prolong your life...and prevent cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson's disease (2).
Coffee is naturally very high in antioxidants, the same compounds present in dark chocolate (cacao) and red wine, and is generally the reason some people advocate the consumption of all three of these things (especially for heart health-conscious individuals). In fact, there is compelling evidence that a moderately high to high consumption of the above-mentioned items (due to the high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids present in all) results in drastically decreased risk of cardiovascular death (3). However, other studies have shown that coffee itself (aside from considering the polyphenolic and antioxidant activity) reduces the risk of all-cause mortality and early death (4,5).
I've always been more of a tea drinker, myself. I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine, and always gravitated more to herbal tea than coffee...but I definitely love the flavor, and always have. I had about a 3-month period where I drank coffee (decaf, of course...and was thoroughly enjoying it), but gave it up when I was diagnosed with CF-related osteoporosis. However, I've recently started drinking it again...every single day...and will for the foreseeable future. Why? Well, because life is short and drinking coffee makes me happy...but that's not the only reason. Numerous studies (and more by the day) are touting coffee's amazing (and potentially life-extending) benefits, particularly for LIVER HEALTH.
If you're experienced in the natural health world, you will undoubtedly have heard of performing coffee enemas as a liver detox tool (don't worry, I won't be walking you through how to do this). This is a very effective treatment for individuals who struggle with die-off reactions, constipation, poor detoxification, or for those who are deficient in the cytochrome P450 enzyme, the main instigator of phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification (sulfur, cysteine, and glycine are also crucial for liver detoxification...as well as glutathione, the body's master antioxidant which is MADE from glycine). However, new(er) research is showing that coffee's liver health benefits extend beyond putting it, er, "up there." Coffee DRINKING can have just as many, if not more benefits than INSERTING.
Regular coffee consumption (whether caffeinated or decaffeinated) has been shown to reduce the liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and γ-glutamyltransferase; decreased rates of liver disease development and progression among patients with chronic hepatitis C; reduce the chance of developing (as well as reduce the severity of) diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance; significantly lower the chance of developing cirrhosis; and reduce the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (6). Interestingly enough, these benefits have been attributed to coffee's constituents of cafestol and kahweol, diterpenic compounds that initiate phase 2 liver detoxification processes, increase hepatic glutathione levels, and decrease liver DNA adducts (segments of DNA bound to cancer-causing materials) (6).
While coffee's liver detoxifying properties have usually been thought to occur due to the caffeine content, however, when considering the research above, this may not be the case after all. Caffeine is a stimulant, and is believed to "stimulate" the liver to release toxins when absorbed through the intestinal lining, the same ideology behind the fact as to why coffee generally causes bowel movements--the caffeine acts as a "stimulant" on the intestines, increasing the peristaltic action...however, even decaffeinated coffee has been shown to exert the same liver-detoxifying actions, and has proven to be just as effective in initiating bowel movements as caffeinated coffee (7). Since we know the importance of a well-functioning liver for digestion and elimination, could we possibly conclude that coffee's "stimulating" effects are due to the coffee itself, not the caffeine? Again, based on the research above, it's highly plausible.
Ok, now to the point. So why did I start drinking coffee again? And why am I suddenly not concerned about it worsening my osteoporosis like most everyone tells me it will? Well, in regards to the osteoporosis, I researched this heavily, and found that not only is this general assumption that coffee, as a whole, leeches calcium from the bones NOT TRUE (as it is based on the faulty concept of the acid-alkaline theory, which I will be going into extensive detail about in my book), but it has been shown that only CAFFEINATED coffee even slightly increases urinary calcium output, and only because caffeine acts as a diuretic (so the only cause of the increased urinary calcium excretion due to coffee drinking is from total increased urinary output via caffeine/diuretic consumption, which is a totally normal effect of any diuretic consumption, including herbal diuretics)...which can be offset by the addition of 2-4 T of milk added to the coffee (aka cream) OR the addition of an electrolyte powder during the day (or a calcium supplement)(8,9,10), the importance of which I discussed in THIS post. So my double knowledge of the myth of the "coffee causes osteoporosis" thing, combined with my knowledge of coffee's benefits for liver health, ultimately influenced my decision to start drinking it again. I struggle extensively with chronic liver disease (due to CF) which, at times, is very serious and uncomfortable. I'm not sure if my daily coffee drinking has influenced my liver enzymes at all, but it has definitely helped my "regularity," which I know means it's helping my liver be able to detox itself (something it really struggles to do with liver disease). Plus there's the thing about it just makes me really happy...
So how do I like to drink it? Well, my sensitive tummy doesn't always appreciate straight, black coffee, so I combine my coffee with stomach-soothing (ant antiviral, antibacterial, immune-boosting, brain-boosting, etc.!) coconut oil and gelatin with a touch of natural sweetness from stevia, which makes for a delicious, frothy, latte-style beverage that my taste buds and liver both love. In lieu of the holidays, I thought I'd share my favorite twist on my morning coffee: my Peppermint Mocha Delight.
Peppermint Mocha Delight
1. 16-20 oz. black coffee (I use decaf)
2. 1 tsp coconut oil
3. One scoop gelatin
4. 1 heaping T cacao/cocoa powder (unsweetened)
5. 15 drops peppermint flavored liquid stevia
1. Combine coffee, coconut oil, and stevia in a high-speed blender.
2. Blend on high for 15 seconds.
3. Reduce speed to low. With blender running on low speed, add gelatin.
4. Replace blender lid and secure well. Increase speed back up to high and blend on high for 30 seconds.
5. Serve warm, topped with cinnamon, if desired.
WHAT I USE FOR THIS RECIPE:
If you make my Peppermint Mocha, be sure to let me know by posting a pic and tagging me @annasorganiclife on Instagram!
Hope this info has been helpful, and possible inspired you to start drinking coffee--for your health and your happiness.