What is Coffee?
Prepared from roasted coffee beans, coffee is the most popular hot beverage in the world with more than 400 billion cups served yearly. In the United States alone, 450 million cups are consumed daily. As with most beverages, the taste is subjective and depends on how the coffee beans are grown, harvested, blended, roasted, brewed, and served. Most people would describe the taste as sweet and chocolatey with a good bitter, and its distinguished aroma is awakening.
Many people look forward to a cup of freshly brimmed coffee to boost energy in the morning. Unfortunately, contradictory information about this popular beverage has arisen throughout the years. Though media has villainized it, studies have actually proven coffee to have many health benefits. In fact, research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of coffee reduce the risk for mortality and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even chronic kidney disease.
Coffee's Effect on Chronic Kidney Disease?
Previous data probably didn’t show all the facts about the link between coffee and chronic kidney disease. Factors omitted from reports could have led to this conclusion such as additives not taken into account such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, or cream. Though these may add flavor, there are numerous studies that link these extras to various illnesses. Coffee is actually beneficial for keeping chronic kidney disease at bay.
In June 2018, The American Journal of Medicine published a study reporting that the effects of coffee intake reduced the risk of chronic kidney disease. Researchers analyzed 8,717 subjects with normal renal function. Using a database from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study from the years 2001 to 2014, 9,644 subjects with normal renal function were reviewed. Coffee consumption was categorized into five groups:
- no coffee per week
- less than one cup per week
- one to six cups per week
- one cup per day
- more than two cups per day
Certain measurements for the study were treated as time-varying covariates (i.e., body mass index, fasting glucose, lipids, hemoglobin, blood pressure, and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)). The group that drank more than two cups per coffee per day was significantly associated with a lower risk for the development of chronic kidney disease. In fact, this was the primary outcome based on the readings of the eGFR which is a blood test that determines how well the kidneys are functioning.
How does Coffee Consumption Reduce Mortality Risk?
Though earlier studies assumed heavy coffee consumption to be linked with a higher risk of mortality, more recent studies found this to be inconclusive. In fact, higher consumption of coffee is associated with lower risk of mortality. This includes both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
In 2015, the American Heart Association® released the results of a longitudinal study in their journal, Circulation. After conducting a review of 28 years’ worth of data of nearly 4.7 million Americans, the study determined that the effects of coffee consumption were positive and lowered mortality. Consuming one to five cups per day of coffee, whether caffeinated or decaffeinated, lowers death rates from chronic disease – including chronic kidney disease.
Researchers from a Portuguese hospital conducted a study of more than 2,300 Americans with chronic kidney disease who drank coffee. They found that caffeinated coffee drinkers reduced their risk of premature death by 12 to 24 percent when compared to those who drank the least.
Are there Coffee Health Risks?
Though coffee has been reported to have therapeutic benefits in humans, it does contain caffeine which is a stimulant that can raise levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body.
Caffeine is metabolized by the liver using a particular enzyme (CYP1A2). In healthy adults, the half-life of caffeine is five to six hours. However, it takes approximately 40 hours for the body to completely metabolize a strong cup of coffee or a 200 mg. dose of caffeine.
Unfortunately, some people don’t produce enough of the enzyme to metabolize caffeine which creates a sensitivity to it. In turn, symptoms are reported such as jitters, nervousness, and restlessness. More serious side effects may include nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, dizziness, and insomnia.
Is Caffeinated Coffee Safe?
One cup of brewed coffee averages 95 to 200 mg. of caffeine per cup, and most adults consume 200 to 300 mg. per day. Depending on the strength of the coffee, this equates to about one to three cups per day. Based on 740 studies on caffeine, the safe limits of caffeine are as follows.
- Adults – 400 mg.
- Pregnant Women – 300 mg.
- Children & Teens – 2.5 mg.
What is the Best Coffee to Buy?
All coffees aren’t created equal. With the world’s second most popular commodity, you’re bound to be confused as you look at dozens of coffee products staring back at you from the shelves of your local supermarket. Following are a few helpful tips on selecting your coffee.
Purity – Be sure the label states 100% Arabica and not 100% Pure Coffee. If it’s not 100% Arabica, then it’s possible that the coffee product is lower quality and may taste significantly bitterer. Some brands use Robusta beans which have a stronger, harsher taste with a grain-like overtone and an aftertaste that is peanutty.
Freshness – Select a coffee product that indicates freshness by “Best by” date and not “Roasted on” date.
Specificity – Choose a coffee brand that is specific on roast levels such as light, medium, and dark. Also, stay away from brands that have too many flavors or blends. Manufacturers use these techniques to lower their costs, and the coffee beans are usually lower grade.
Packaging Type – Elect an unlined kraft paper bag container that will preserve your coffee. Lined bags will cause coffee beans to swell and alter the taste of your coffee. Glass jars, as well as metal and plastic cans, will dehydrate your coffee. Clear bags allow the light to come through causing faster oxidation.
Packing Size – Purchase smaller amounts of coffee. If it sits on a shelf for more than two or three weeks, it’s going to go bad and lose the taste and benefits you desire.
Buzzwords – Be careful with flowery words like natural, pure, and eco-friendly. Though they sound great, they don’t carry much weight. Instead, look for information that actually means something like the coffee’s varietal types, growing altitude, or processing methods. Also, look for USDA or Fair Trade certification labels.
Add Coffee to Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease
If you’d like to prevent the risks of chronic kidney disease or other deep-rooted illnesses, just add a high quality coffee to your daily regimen. Studies have shown that it also reduces the risk of mortality for conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, neurological diseases, as well as chronic kidney disease.
Assuming that you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to try a decaffeinated variety. If you just don’t like the taste of coffee, green tea is an option as it also provides numerous health benefits.