Category Archives: Organic

Coffee is Healthy – Just Don’t Drink 100 Cups Daily

Next to water, coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed in the world.  Legend has it that Ethiopian shepherds first stumbled upon coffee when they noticed their goats ‘dancing’ and acting crazy after they ate some strange red coffee berries.  So humans being humans decided they wanted to dance and act crazy too.  However, before it was made into a drink, many tribes mixed these coffee berries with animal fat into caffeinated lard balls. Yum. It was later discovered that roasting the beans brought out a complex delicate flavor and more health benefits. With this new method, the modern cup of Java was born.

Many people mistakenly believe coffee is unhealthy.  Not true says the scientific evidence.  Science wholeheartedly refutes coffee’s pernicious character and conversely demonstrates its numerous health benefits. It is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet (it has 3000% more antioxidants than an apple – and no calories!). There are many other positive effects linked to coffee but once you start to add sugar, fake sugar, weird creamers and/or decide to have a cigarette with your cup of Joe you may negate all the advantages.  Obviously, people who suffer from sleep issues or anxiety problems may want to steer clear of caffeinated beverages altogether.  It is also probably a good idea to limit or exclude caffeine exposure to infants, toddlers, and children.  I didn’t really have to tell you that, did I?

Warning: Coffee crops come with some of the highest levels of pesticide residue of any agricultural product.  The chemical and micro-toxin load is quite heavy and it is probably a smart move to buy certified organic coffee beans. However, there is no good data showing it has ill effects on humans. Traditional coffee is also a good option but harder to come by.  It is coffee grown in similar methods to a time before agricultural chemicals were invented. All Yemen, almost all Ethiopia, and most Sumatra coffees are grown in such a state of innocence and are among the world’s finest. 
 
Coffee Factoids:

  1. The lethal dose of coffee is about 100 cups in a day….but then again 100 cups of water might kill you too!
  2. Coffee is made from a fruit…yet it doesn’t count as a fruit serving in your daily diet.  Nice try.
  3. Black coffee contains ZERO calories (some coffee beans have up to 4 calories).
  4. Espressos have about one-third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee but more antioxidants.
  5. Regular coffee drinkers suffer less depression and are less likely to off themselves than their non-drinking counterparts.
  6. Evidence suggests that higher coffee consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes – more than 2 cups per day but less than 6.
  7. Coffee is chock full of antioxidants which protect cells from damage and free-radicals – in fact, Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source!
  8. About 5 milligrams of calcium is lost per every cup of coffee consumed increasing osteoporosis risk but adding milk to your drink can cancel out the negative effect.
  9. Coffee seems to protect men but not women against Parkinson’s disease. One possible explanation for the sex difference may be that estrogen and caffeine need the same enzymes to be metabolized, and estrogen captures those enzymes.
  10. Coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer symptomatic gallstone disease, possibly because coffee alters the cholesterol content of the bile produced by the liver.
  11. Coffee drinkers experience higher levels of cognition including short-term memory, verbal recall, and visuospatial reasoning.
  12. As many of you know coffee can be a powerful anti-constipation beverage.
  13. Contrary to popular belief, coffee is not a diuretic when consumed in moderation (less than 5 cups per day).
  14. Athletes and fitness buffs have been successfully using coffee as a performance enhancing beverages for hundreds of years. It seems to enhance endurance events more so than short term high-intensity exercise.
coffee infographic

 

Sources:
1. JAMA: Coffee and Depression
2. JAMA: Coffee and Type 2 Diabetes 
3. Harvard’s Family Health Guide: Coffee and Health 
4. NYTimes: Caffeine Causes Dehydration?

Doug Joachim – NYC
www.JoachimsTraining.com
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Food Labels are a Joke

food label comic

There is no governing body that regulates the words “natural”, “healthy”, “pure”, “lightly sweetened” or “world famous”….It is kind of like being in Alaska and seeing a pizza place advertise “New York City Pizza”, ya right! Unfortunately nobody is controlling these types of marketing scams. However, the government does regulate the words “organic”, “free-range”, “no antibiotics” etc. (although these claims can be dubious at best). Look for products that have ingredients you can pronounce, no added sugar and very little marketing claims on the package (a package free product would be best, like fruits, veggies, and farmer’s market foods). When buying animal protein I look for the “Animal Welfare Approved” seal or I actually talk to the farmer or go to the farm before I make my purchase.

Animal Welfare Approved (AWA is a non-profit) prohibits feedlots, cages, crates and requires animals be raised outdoors which means healthier and safer foods. This free certification is only given to independent local farmers with sustainable farming methods. That means no factory farms. I believe a healthier, happier animal makes for a better tasting and probably more beneficial product.

The FDA allows products to claim “No trans fat” when it has less than .49 g per serving. The RDA is less than 2 g/day (it should be zero grams a day because there is no discernible reason the human body needs trans fat!). So if you eat 2 servings of “Trans-fat free” product you may be actually getting half of your RDA! If the label says shortening or partially hydrogenated it contains trans fat.

A common product claim, “made with wheat” means very little. It suggests that it was made with wheat (not necessarily whole wheat grains). A “multi grain” product is simply made with more than one grain and that may not even be whole wheat! Why is this bad? When you consume wheat flour or grains without the husk and endosperm (refined wheat) your body metabolizes it just like plain sugar. For your body, there is no difference between eating 4 to 6 tablespoons of white sugar and a plain bagel. Furthermore, since these empty calories are missing most essential nutrients, scientists have discovered, that your body will be stripped mined of its minerals in order to digest these products.. It is best to buy or make food from 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain. People who have diets high in refined carbohydrates tend to have a lower metabolism, higher insulin resistance, more abdominal fat, worse short term memory, more mood swings and increased sugar cravings. If you really don’t care and want to eat refined bread or pasta, look for the brands that have zero added sugar and a respectable amount of fiber (3-6 g/serving). Eating simple carbs with fiber and protein will slow your insulin response. Here are some examples: pasta with vegetables, toast with peanut butter, rice with beans, bread with cheese etc.

Have you ever looked at the serving size of an 8-12 oz bottled drink? It is not uncommon for these drinks to state 2 or 3 servings per container. That way companies can get away with stating a lower calorie amount on the label (albeit per serving). However when you multiply the calories with the servings you may be alarmed that, for example, an 8 oz bottle of the popular POM (pomegranate) juice is considered 2 servings for a total of 320 calories! Food manufacturers are keenly aware of American’s laziness and bet we won’t look at the food label and if we do not bother to multiply once we are there. Studies show few consumers inspect labels; most will look only at the calories and nothing more. Be a smart consumer and read and understand the labels of the food that you buy.

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