CAN THE WORLD’S FAVOURITE BEVERAGE OFFER A SHOT OF BEAUTY GOODNESS?
The explosion of corporate and independent coffee shops in the UK, underpin that coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world and demand continues to rise, year on year. Yearly, in excess of 70 million cups are consumed – this equates to £750 million in sales. By contrast worldwide 400 billion cups are consumed each year.
There are literally thousands of different natural chemical compounds in your brew, and science now indicates the synergy between them can pack a nutritional punch.
Coffee grows on trees up to 30 feet high and the bean is actually a seed inside a bright red berry. This makes coffee a fruit. Coffee berries start as green berries in early stage of growth, turns yellow, red, then dark crimson when it is finally ripe and yields the best coffee. Coffee plants can take up to 5 years to mature and produce their first crop. Coffee berries are picked, dried and stripped down until all that’s left is a green bean. Beans are roasted at approximately 500F
A SHORT HISTORY OF COFFEE CONSUMPTION
The beverage was banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons and was also associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.
Coffee became more widely accepted after it was deemed a Christian beverage by Pope Clement VIII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the “Muslim drink.” The first European coffee house opened in Italy in 1645.
In 2011/12 Brazil was the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia. Arabica coffee seeds are cultivated in Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia, or Asia. Robusta coffee seeds are grown in western and central Africa, throughout southeast Asia, and to some extent in Brazil.
“Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, behind oil”
“There is no scientific evidence that coffee can sober you up”
“Japan is the third largest consumer of coffee. They use coffee as part of their beauty regime to improve their skin tone, and reduce wrinkles. Uniquely they bathe in coffee grounds fermented with pineapple pulp”
The medical profession has for decades presented coffee as destructive for your health, and tried to discourage its consumption. Recent research indicates that coffee in moderation is beneficial for your overall health and your skin.
Scientific studies have confirmed that coffee has positive causal links to the following diseases:
- prostate cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- heart disease,
- diabetes mellitus type 2,
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,
- and gout
Coffee & Type II Diabetes
One of the latest studies, published in April 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms earlier studies that coffee may actually reduce your risk for developing type 2 Diabetes.
Type II diabetes is a modern lifestyle-related disease that has now reached epidemic proportions. In two decades it has increased ten fold and affects in excess of 300 million worldwide. Diabetes is characterised by high blood glucose levels caused by insulin resistance, or an inability by the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar.
The reduction in risk ranges from 23% all the way up to 67% – and appears to result from reduced levels of blood glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, and decreased storage of both fat and carbohydrate. Specifically, the anti-diabetic effect of coffee has been attributed to Caffeic acid and Chlorogenic acid.
Coffee and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Recent studies confirm that coffee, consumed in moderation can protect your brain cells into old age, preventing the development of degenerative diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world and a leading cause of dementia. In prospective studies, coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Coffee may lower the risk of Parkinson’s by 32-60%.
Research also shows that coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and also expresses itself in your muscles. It does this by supporting the neuromotor, which is the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without the ignition. Neuromotor degradation is part of the process underlying age-related muscle atrophy. Essentially, caffeine from organic whole coffee may help keep your brain and muscle tissue young.
We all know the importance that antioxidants play in neutralising the cascade effect within the body caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that steal electrons from other healthy cells to make themselves complete again. This causes a chain reaction as the now newly incomplete atom becomes unstable and steals electrons from other complete cells. The whole process continues infinitely if not interrupted by consuming Antioxidants. Free radicals are believed to be the cellular cause of all disease and cancer. Millions of free radicals wreak havoc in our system daily from toxic compounds found in water, skincare, pollution, cooked oils and food.
The presence of antioxidants in coffee has been shown to prevent free radicals from causing cellular damage. Evidence suggests that roasted coffee has a stronger antioxidant effect than green coffee. Even after the roasting process many of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are preserved.
A cup of coffee contains:
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Thiamine (B1)
- Potassium and Manganese
In fact, coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables combined. This is an appalling but true statistic, it appears the 5 a day message is not hitting its target.
Roasted coffees are higher in neuroprotective agents than green (unroasted) coffees. A new study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that dark roast coffee restored blood levels of the antioxidants vitamin E and glutathione more effectively than light roast coffee.
The caffeine in coffee is beneficial for your skin as it reduces redness and inflammation and can assist in the reduction of dark circles under the eyes and elimination of cellulite. By incorporating natural products with whole bean caffeine into your skin care routine, you can reveal evenly toned, smooth skin all over your body. For this reason I incorporated organic, raw coffee grounds to our Body Sculpting Scrub for its anti-cellulite and magical skin tightening qualities. The scrub also reduces and prevents inflammation and redness, leaving you with a beautiful, even skin tone.
In a 2008 study performed at the University of São Paulo, researchers found that an application of skin cream containing caffeine to cellulite reduced the size of cellulite fat cells by 17 percent. In addition, a 2007 study performed at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found that caffeine cream applied to cellulite decreased the hip’s diameter in almost 70 percent of participants.
Coffee May be Extremely Good For Your Liver
Coffee may lower the risk of liver cancer by around 40%.
The liver is a remarkable organ that carries out hundreds of vital functions in the body. It struggles with processing the volume of sugar we consume including those sugars from alcohol and fruits. Cirrhosis is the end stage of liver damage caused by diseases like alcoholism and hepatitis, where healthy liver tissue has been largely replaced by scar tissue. Multiple studies have shown that coffee can lower the risk of cirrhosis by as much as 80%.
There is strong evidence coffee can help stabilize your blood glucose level and may even help curb sugar cravings. Caffeine binds to your opioid receptors, which essentially prohibits you from craving something else, such as sugar.
Caffeine’s effect on the Body
We know what Caffeine is, but do we know what it does to our bodies?
The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, a stimulant and psychoactive. Caffeine’s primary mechanism in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. By blocking the inhibitory effects of Adenosine, caffeine actually increases neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Many controlled trials have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, demonstrating that caffeine can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function.
Caffeine, partly due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system, both raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids, assisting the body to burn fat as a source of fuel. Caffeine can also improve athletic performance by several mechanisms, including by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues. In two separate meta-analyses, caffeine was found to increase exercise performance by 11-12% on average.
Caffeine acts as an acute antidepressant. A review published in 2004 indicated a negative correlation between suicide rates and coffee consumption. It was concluded that the action of caffeine in blocking the inhibitory effects of Adenosine on Dopamine nerves in the brain reduced feelings of depression.
Caffeine levels vary depending on type of bean, roast, grind, and brewing method. Darker roasts typically believed to be stronger, actually contain less caffeine than lighter roasts due to the prolonged heat breaking down more of the caffeine molecules.
IT’S ALL ABOUT MODERATION
I recommend no more than 2 cups a day of ground whole bean coffee. Not instant and not decaffeinated. Drinking more than this carries health risks.
Beware of Decaffeinated Coffee
Coffee seeds are decaffeinated when they are still green. Decaffeination is often done by processing companies and the extracted caffeine is usually sold to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.
The caffeine is extracted one of three ways:
- Methylene chloride
- Ethyl acetate
- Carbon dioxide
The Europeans prefer soaking the beans in water and then “washing” them in Methylene chloride to absorb the caffeine from the bean. After this, the beans are rinsed clean of the chemicals, dried and shipped to the coffee roasters.
The process of removing caffeine produces high levels of Acrylamide. Acrylamide is a known lethal neurotoxin and animal carcinogen. Its discovery in 2002 as a by product of cooking chips, crisps and anything with high levels of vegetable oils, prompted concerns about the carcinogenicity of those foods.
IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU TAKE IT
If you are a latte drinker insist yours is made with ideally raw or organic milk. Non-organic is full of Antibiotics and unwanted chemicals and is not compassionate to cows.
Avoid no calorie coffee syrups as they are highly processed synthetic liquids that use neurotoxins and excitotoxins in the form of aspartame and MSG to mask the chemical taste. Neurotoxins destroy brain cells and excitotoxins literally excite brains cells to death.
Which Coffee Bean is Best?
When it comes to the health benefits of organic whole-bean black coffee, the darker the roast, the better. Nature colour codes and foods with the darkest pigments also offer the most robust benefits to health. Dark roast coffee such as French or Italian Roast, or roasts used to make espresso or Turkish coffee, are no exception to this rule.
When it comes to achieving any therapeutic benefits from coffee, only purchase exceptional coffee from a producer with a clear ethical policy. Never underestimate the political power and corruption of a world agricultural crop – there’s a reason the Brazilians stopped mining for gold and turned to cultivating coffee. It’s not necessary to use certified organic/fairtrade/rainforest alliance coffee as smaller producers often have practices that are more stringent, yet they cannot afford the fees to be certified. It’s about provenance, knowing where your coffee originates from and the process it goes through before and after roasting. The coffee company should be proud to explain where their coffee comes from.
Top Tips to Help You Get the Most Nutritional Benefit from Your Coffee
Choose Organic: Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops with pesticides and herbicides as they are vulnerable to disease when grown under monoculture conditions. All beneficial compounds inherent in the coffee will be destroyed by the prescence of pesticides. Purchase sustainable “shade-grown” coffee to help prevent the continued destruction of our tropical rain forests and the birds that inhabit them. Coffee with a conscience tastes superior in my experience.
Research and find UK based coffee importers that grind on site, they often produce exquisite, unique coffees that are pure and fair to farmers.
Whole Bean: Purchase whole bean coffee that smells and tastes fresh and highly aromatic, not stale; if your coffee does not have a pleasant aroma, it is likely rancid. Grind it at home to prevent rancidity as pre-ground coffee may be rancid by the time you get it home. Always store your coffee in a glass clip top jar to prevent oxidisation and keep out of sunlight.
Make sure the water you use to make your coffee is from a pure source. My concerns over the chemicals in tap water have led me to use a Kangen water system, to not only purify my tap water but alkalise it at the same time. The difference in the taste of my morning coffee is incredible.
Coffee Filters: If you use a “drip” coffee maker, be sure to use non-bleached filters. The bright white ones are chlorine-bleached, and some of this chlorine will leach from the filter during the brewing process. Bleached filters are also notoriously full of dangerous disinfection byproducts, such as dioxin.
Your vessel: Please give some consideration to the cup you drink from. Avoid plastic cups as the BPA and petrochemical by products will leach into your drink. Similarly Styrofoam cups leach highly toxic polystyrene molecules. Choose ceramic, glass or stainless steel mugs and travel cups.
Coffee Inspired Skincare Recipes
For all you natural beauties, get your body bikini-ready right in time for summer with these aromatic ideas that easily fit into your beauty routine.
Soften and shine hair
Before lathering up your tresses with your favorite organic shampoo, scrunch a handful of coffee grounds into wet hair and scalp. Take the time to give your scalp a stimulating massage to encourage blood flow and nutrient to the hair shaft. Once you’ve worked the grinds into your mane, rinse thoroughly. The grounds will remove any product build-up and leave your locks glossy and smooth. Don’t do this if you have bleached or light hair, as it may darken your colour.
Cellulite is caused by excess toxins being stored in fat cells to protect the vital organs from chemical overload. Lymphatic massage and daily detoxifying practices will reduce and eliminate the incidence of cellulite, as will using a more holistic approach to your health. This includes increased intake of pure water and moving more, for example, yoga is wonderful to alkalise and detoxify the body.
Simply combine these ingredients to make this all-natural scrub that will make your skin radiate with health:
- 1/2 cup raw coffee grounds
- 1/2 cup cold pressed olive or nut oil
- ¼ cup of ground pink Himalayan salt
- tbsp. bicarbonate of soda
- tbsp. of chili powder
If you want to make a scrub for the face that softens and nourishes the skin combine: ½ cup or raw or organic honey with ¼ cup of raw organic coffee. If you want to add that spa experience add a tbsp. of raw ground chocolate or cocoa powder and resist eating it!
Massage this chocolatey delicious mask into your skin in the morning for a quick perk up. Allow the mask to dry for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse it off thoroughly.
This delectable mask will help tighten pores and remove oil. The coffee grinds will help reduce puffiness and swelling, while the cocoa, honey and milk will add decadent moisture to your skin.
Makes enough for 4 – don’t save it – get the girls round or give your man a much needed facial.
If You Over Do it?
If you have a reaction to caffeine or you have overdone with any sources of caffeine (including chocolate!) give your thyroid and adrenals some love by eating foods rich in iodine.
My top sources are:
- Kelp and all other Sea Vegetables
- Pink Himalayan Salt
- Organic Strawberries
- Organic Dairy
- Organic Eggs
COFFEE IS NOT JUST A DRINK
Ground coffee makes a wonderful natural fertilizer and soil enricher. Don’t forget to save your coffee grinds for your garden. Your vegetable garden and flowers will love the acidity of the coffee and absorb the trace beneficial compounds discussed above. Sprinkle over your grass in winter and leave until spring for stimulated healthy grass growth and reduced incidence of weeds.