YOUR BRAIN ON CAFFEINE + RECIPE!
With more than 2.25 billion cups enjoyed worldwide every day, coffee is the planet’s single most valuable traded food commodity.
The health effects of coffee are quite controversial. Despite what you may have heard, there are actually plenty of good things to be said about coffee.
All coffee lovers need to hear some good news about their favourite beverage once in a while. Coffee is not all bad – it might have a number of positive health effects. Some adore the smell of fresh ground coffee, some can’t even wake up without a cuppa, but if you have high cholesterol or you are caffeine sensitive, pregnant or a child, you should pay attention to coffee drinking.
Coffee’s effectiveness as high-performance brain fuel makes it liquid gold, and it’s not surprising that coffee’s primary active ingredient, caffeine, is the globe’s most commonly used psychoactive drug. The connection between caffeine’s main botanical source – the coffee plant – and our own biochemistry is one of nature’s best hacks.
Where do coffee beans come from?
There are two types of coffee plant: Coffea arabica is the source of Arabica coffee, and it accounts for 80% of the coffee that companies produce worldwide. The remaining 20% is Coffea canephora, commonly called Robusta coffee. A coffee bean is a seed of the coffee plant, and is the source for coffee. It is the pit inside the red or purple fruit often referred to as a cherry. Just like cherries, the coffee fruit is also a so called stone fruit. Even though the coffee beans are seeds, they are referred to as ‘beans’ because of their resemblance to true beans.
Mold in my coffee?
Studies on health and coffee almost never account for the way companies grow and process the beans. Coffee beans thrive in hot, damp climates, so most growers are in South America and Africa. Processing plants are often nearby.
Where there’s hot, damp weather, there’s the possibility for mold. A recent study found that 91.7% of green coffee beans were contaminated with mold.
Several species of coffee mold create mycotoxins, toxic byproducts that have serious implications for your health. Studies link mycotoxins to brain damage, weight gain, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, and numerous other health problems.
You’ll want to think twice about cheap, low-quality coffee.
Your brain on caffeine
When caffeine hits the brain it suppresses a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine influences attention, alertness, and sleep. It builds up in your brain as the day goes on, like mercury rising in a thermometer. When adenosine hits a certain level, your body decides it’s bedtime. You have trouble staying awake and paying attention. When you sleep, adenosine resets, the thermometer drops back to zero during the night, and you wake up in the morning alert and ready to go.
Studies show that caffeine improves learning by up to 10%. Caffeine can even relieve headaches and migraines by constricting blood vessels in the brain that are opening too wide. That makes drinking coffee one of the easiest brain performance hacks ever
According to a recent study, coffee may be able to help you from falling into losing your mental sharpness. Researchers discovered that participants who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 65% decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on in life. Studies have shown people who drink coffee have a lower risk of becoming depressed. In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and acts as an antidepressant by elevating serotonin and dopamine – it’s even been shown in the Archives of Internal Medicine to lower suicide rates. Some experience the mood boost more than others.
Coffee and cardio
Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.
According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%. Of course, this still doesn’t excuse you from cardio exercises.
Interestingly, coffee drinkers appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing this disease, some studies showing that coffee drinkers are up to 23-67% less likely to become diabetic.
Between 1986 and 1998 Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
With all said above you must make a choice whether to pick up a coffee drinking habit or not depending on your constitution, health conditions, and personal preferences. Bad quality coffee can have a lot of impurities in it, which can cause sickness, headache or a general bad feeling. Coffee can also cause insomnia and restlessness. Be aware of your own body and the brand you’re using!
Follow these tips when you drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages:
Buy single estate coffee beans. You’ll know exactly where they are coming from.
Don’t buy “blends” of coffee. They are usually a mix of cheap beans from multiple sources.
Avoid decaf coffee (unless it’s with the Upgraded decaf process). Caffeine is the coffee plant’s (and bean’s) natural pesticide and antifungal agent. When a bean is decaffeinated, it is defenseless and open to mold growth in later stages of processing.
Arabica beans are generally less moldy than Robusta beans (for both cheap and expensive coffees).
Avoid natural processed beans. Although the phrase sounds nice, it means the beans are left outside and often collect debris and bird feces. Natural process is very common in Africa.
Be wary of the wet process, which isn’t much better than the natural process. Beans are fermented in water to remove skins and become susceptible to toxins.
Consider the environment in which your beans grow. Mold is less common at higher elevations, so the mountains of Central or South America are solid choices.
Whether they’re monks, hippies, or locals, buy hand-picked coffee from experienced coffee harvesters who know how to pick only perfectly ripe beans for their peak effectiveness.
Steam can help break down mycotoxins, making americanos a better choice than black coffee if you get caught without Upgraded beans.
Decalcify your coffee making equipment with vinegar (a natural anti-fungal) every few months depending on how hard your water is.
Always brew your coffee with filtered water
COLD BANANA-MILK COFFEE
1 cup milk or vegan alternative
1 very ripe banana
(1 tablespoon coconut sugar or a few drops of stevia)
1 cup cold brew coffee
Combine milk, banana, (and sugar) in a blender; blend until very smooth, about 1 minute.
Fill glasses with ice cubes. Divide coffee between the glasses.
Pour banana milk on top, dividing it evenly between the glasses.