Coffee, in general, is not believed to be a health-promoting beverage. There are a number of reasons why coffee should be avoided. The first being caffeine, which ironically is also the main reason why many people drink coffee.
Dr. Joseph Mercola recently interviewed fitness expert Ori Hofmekler, who has extensively researched the benefits and side effects of coffee consumption. Hofmekler believes that many of the warnings against caffeine are valid because of its toxicity, but asserts the potential health benefits of coffee.
What Gives Coffee A Bad Name?
High caffeine intake can cause glutamate re-uptake inhibition in your brain. Your body has a mechanism that reabsorbs the neurotransmitter glutamate from the intracellular matrix back into the cell. The overconsumption of caffeine inhibits this process and causes glutamate excitoxicity, which rapidly accelerates the death of cells.
Dr. Mercola warns that expecting mothers should avoid caffeine at all costs. It has been associated with complications in pregnancy. A 2008 study found that just two cups of coffee ingested during pregnancy may be enough to negatively affect fetal heart development and reduce heart function over the entire lifespan of the child.
Coffee’s acidity is another reason for its bad reputation. Regularly drinking coffee contributes to an acid-forming diet. When your body becomes too acidic, it leads to bone and muscle wasting, cellular congestion, and an increased vulnerability to degenerative diseases like cancer.
Cancer thrives on acid and sugar. Since sugar is usually added to coffee, well, you get the picture.
Drinking the Right Type of Coffee Provides Therapeutic Benefits
Coffee does yield some benefits if you drink organic, pesticide-free coffee bean as opposed to just isolated caffeine. USDA-certified organic coffee must not be sprayed with pesticides for at least three consecutive years and grown using at least 95 percent organic fertilizers. Most of the coffee produced today is heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Hofmekler shares that drinking coffee can help:
- Support your nervous system
Research shows that both whole cocoa beans and coffee possess neuroprotective properties. There is emerging evidence that people in South America who drink freshly ground coffee from whole coffee beans have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.More recent research has also revealed that coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This growth factor activates brain cell stems to convert into new neurons.
- Rejuvenate your muscles
BDNF also supports the neuromotor, the most critical muscle element. A muscle would be like an engine without an ignition switch without the neuromotor. Neuromotor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy. A study published in The Journal of Pain (link) in 2007 suggests that drinking two cups of coffee an hour before exercise can help reduce post-workout muscle soreness by up to 48 percent.
- Boost your metabolism
According to Hofmekler’s research, coffee can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent and can help support exercise if consumed before working out.
Coffee appears to have redeeming health benefits as long as you consume high-quality organic coffee, grind your own beans to ensure freshness, and avoid adding sugar.
Use non-bleached filters if you have a “drip” coffee maker. The bright white ones, which most people use, are chlorine bleached and are also full of harmful disinfection byproducts like dioxin, Dr. Mercola warns. Some of the chlorine and dioxin is extracted from the filter during the brewing process. Pour your coffee in glass or ceramic mugs instead of plastic and Styrofoam cups.