If you are on a health journey, you are likely well aware of the things that you must cut out of your diet if you want to heal. You must say goodbye to processed foods, sugary beverages, and gluten. Regular consumption of alcohol and a daily dose of dairy need to be memories of the past. But what about coffee?
If there’s one thing most people are unwilling to part with, it’s their morning cup of joe. Few things are more satisfying than the first sip of coffee each day. For many, it’s more than just a tasty beverage. It’s a ritual. Coffee is the beverage that brings people together.
Sadly, there is a great deal of confusion around whether or not coffee is beneficial or harmful, especially for those with cardiac concerns. What if we told you that coffee is not only safe but, when enjoyed correctly, can actually serve as a daily nutritional supplement?
How is coffee like a supplement?
Many people enjoy coffee for its taste and texture. Others appreciate the boost of energy derived from a cup of joe. For some, coffee is the perfect stress reducer. And yet a smaller subset of individuals drink coffee strictly for the health benefits. Yes, you read that right. Coffee has extraordinary health benefits. In fact, coffee can be consumed just as you would your daily vitamins.
It’s no secret that we live in a stressful world. Psychological stress comes by way of financial woes, relationship dynamics, work-related problems, and lack of support, among others. In addition to emotional stress, the human body also experiences many physical stressors. Lack of sleep, exposure to toxins, lack of regular movement, and a poor diet all tax our bodies.
Both types of stress create free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules that, when built up in the body, create damage. Left unchecked, free radicals destroy DNA, fatty tissues, and proteins, thus increasing the risk of disease.
One way that our bodies fight off free radicals is through antioxidants. Sometimes referred to as “free-radical scavengers,” antioxidants help disarm free radicals and neutralize the damage they cause.
The human body naturally produces some antioxidants, such as glutathione and alpha lipoic acid. However, most antioxidants make their way into the body through our food. Plants are packed with compounds called phytochemicals that have potent antioxidant properties.
Of all staples in the American diet, coffee beans carry one of the highest levels of antioxidants. Scientists have discovered thousands of different kinds of antioxidants in coffee, making it one of nature’s best superfoods. Specifically, chlorogenic acid (CGA), an antioxidant found almost exclusively in coffee, has incredible health benefits. CGA combats free radicals, lowers inflammation, helps to regulate glucose levels, lowers blood pressure, and protects the heart and vascular system.
Moreover, many people take supplements to try to improve their energy. Coffee is a natural stimulant that temporarily boosts alertness and energy. Drinking coffee before performing a cognitive task or exercising may benefit some people.
In addition, coffee contains trace amounts of healthy micronutrients. For example, a single serving of coffee has close to 120 mg of potassium, 7.2 mg of magnesium, and trace amounts of phosphorus, manganese folate, choline, and sodium. Moreover, coffee is a source of B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin.
Therefore, you can rest easy knowing that your daily cup of coffee is working to fight oxidative stress in your body and provide a natural source of vitamins and minerals.
Can I drink coffee if I have a heart condition?
Many people wonder if they can drink coffee if they have a heart condition. After all, caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate – something most cardiac patients hope to avoid. However, while each individual is different and must carefully listen to their body’s cues regarding coffee consumption, most people with cardiac disease can safely drink coffee.
Just as with food, coffee can be medicine to the body. Recent medical research concludes that two to three cups of coffee daily benefits the heart and may even lengthen life. For example, a 2022 study of over 380,000 people found that individuals who drank two to three cups of coffee each day had a 10-15 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, or dying for any reason.
In another 2022 study, researchers concluded that coffee drinkers were not at higher risk of developing heart rhythm problems like AFib or atrial flutter. Moreover, those who began the study with AFib had a lower risk of death. For instance, AFib patients who drank a cup of coffee each day were nearly 20 percent less likely to die than those who refrained from coffee.
In addition, some of the other health benefits of coffee include:
- Lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome
- Reduces the risk of stroke by over 20 percent
- Lowers the risk of heart failure
- Helps to regulate blood sugar
- Protects against dementia and cognitive decline
- Decreases the risk of depression by up to one-third
Downsides of coffee
You’re probably ready to brew a fresh cup of coffee by now. However, sit tight just a bit longer. While coffee is a true superfood, we regret to inform you that the coffee you are drinking is not likely to be healthy.
Not all coffee is created equal. In fact, most conventional coffee is downright toxic for the following reasons:
- Conventional coffee is doused in chemicals
Shielded from intense heat under the forest canopy, coffee beans prefer to grow in shady areas. The dark forest provides the coffee plant with moist soil and natural insect control to keep the plant happy and thriving.
Worldwide coffee demand is so high that farmers have altered their practices, clearing large areas of land to produce more crops. As a result, coffee crops that once grew in the shaded forest are now grown in the sun. Unprotected by the forest ecosystem, coffee beans require multiple chemicals to stay alive.
In fact, conventionally grown coffee is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world. It’s doused in synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. Unfortunately, many coffee-producing countries have little to no regulations on chemicals used on coffee plants. These toxins penetrate the bean and make their way into our bodies, wreaking havoc on our health.
- Conventional coffee is a breeding ground for mold mycotoxins
Mold poisoning typically conjures up images of a damp basement or water damage in a home. However, one of the most significant sources of mold mycotoxins is our food, especially coffee.
Coffee naturally grows in warm, damp areas, which is the perfect climate for mold. Moreover, poor harvesting, roasting, and storage practices often lend to additional mold growth. Multiple studies have found measurable amounts of mold mycotoxins in coffee beans. Mold mycotoxins are harmful to the body and especially to the heart.
Interestingly, some of the most common symptoms of mold toxicity mimic those of a caffeine response. Mold growth can result in dizziness, headache, anxiety, irritability, and abdominal issues. Individuals who think they can’t tolerate coffee due to these symptoms may actually be feeling the effects of mold.
- Conventional coffee is often grown under unhealthy working conditions
The coffee industry is notorious for unhealthy work conditions and low pay. Many farm workers labor in the hot sun for hours with little to no access to clean water. Sadly, some of these laborers are children. Recent investigations have revealed that forced labor is still very much alive in certain areas worldwide.
Everything is energy, and good health requires supporting our fellow humans. The coffee you drink should be Fair Trade. Better yet, knowing exactly where your coffee comes from ensures that the individuals farming your coffee are treated with respect and dignity.
Best coffee for heart health
There are thousands of coffee companies in the United States. It can be challenging to know which ones are safe and ethical. Even if you have a favorite organic brand, there are other considerations. You want to look for coffee beans that meet the following criteria:
- USDA Organic (free of toxic chemicals and pesticides)
- Free of mold and mycotoxins (third-party tested)
- Roasted in a way that preserves antioxidants and nutrients
- Packaged in a way that ensures freshness
- Grown and harvested in a way that respects humanity
By ensuring that all of these factors are met, you can be sure that you are drinking the highest quality coffee for heart health.
Cardiology Coffee meets all of these requirements. This certified organic coffee was created by a board-certified cardiologist Dr. Jack Woflson, and is third-party tested to ensure that it is free of chemicals and mold mycotoxins. Using smokeless roasting technology, Cardiology Coffee maintains nutrition and optimizes antioxidants. Moreover, it’s grown by economically independent women in their own cooperative in Honduras.
If you are someone who enjoys coffee, but you’ve been worried about the impact that it may have on your heart, you can breathe easily. For most people, quality coffee is safe for your heart and provides your body with a daily dose of nutrients.
So, go brew yourself a warm cup of Cardiology Coffee (that you can buy here), sip it slowly, and know that you are nurturing your body with a delicious cup of antioxidants.
Reviewed by Dr. Jack Wolfson