Whenever I learn something new about healthier ways to enjoy the food and beverages I love, I get so excited that I want to share it with everyone I know! After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and began my healing journey, one of the things that I thought I might have to give up is coffee. However, I am learning that there may be many health benefits to drinking coffee, when you know which coffee to buy, and the proper ways to brew it.
So, I put together the following list, as a quick reference, and what I believe are good rules to consider when you want to enjoy a nice coffee brew.
Rule #1 – Make a Switch and ditch… The Traditional Coffee Maker:
Most of the traditional coffee makers that I’ve seen and used contain plastic and when the water gets too hot, these plastics can seep harmful chemicals into the coffee that we drink. And, if a coffee pot is not properly cleaned and dried, it can become a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Even if you clean your coffee pot (which, face it, some of us don’t do often enough), it can be difficult to properly dry every little nook and cranny inside of it to remove all of the contaminants that could be going into your body every time you take a sip! I’ve also learned that for those who use Keurig type coffee makers, the little plastic kcups contain synthetic estrogens that can cause cancer – Even BPA free plastics have synthetic estrogens. Since my particular breast cancer was Estrogen receptor positive (most breast cancers are), meaning it used estrogen to grow, I am trying to reduce the amount of fake estrogens (also called xenoestrogens) that I am exposed to. So, for me, it just makes sense to use a “fake estrogen free” coffee maker. Here are the ones that I am using now but I am still doing as much research on this as I can to find the best products…
Rule #2 – Choose your Coffee Filters Wisely!:
The rules on this are a little unclear to me so please do your research. I’ve read that paper coffee filters can help with reducing the amount of bad cholesterol because it filters out a lot of the coffee oils, which seem to be the main culprit. However, I’ve also read that metal coffee filters might allow more nutrients into your coffee that could help fight against certain types of illness. For me, since I am trying make smarter choices these days, I’ve decided to start off by using organic coffee (which has more nutrients and less toxins). Then, I sometimes use metal filters or coffee makers (like a basic stovetop, stainless, italian espresso maker). Or, I will use unbleached paper coffee filters with a glass pour over coffee dripper, like this…
Rule #3 – Store for Freshness!:
I’ll keep this very simple… The best way that I’ve found to store whole organic coffee beans and keep them fresh is in a glass air tight container and keep them in a dark, cool cabinet, away from direct sunlight. See, simple! As for putting coffee in the refrigerator or freezer I’ve learned it can change it’s cellular structure and that could impact it’s freshness and flavor. And, it might be better to only store the amount of coffee, that you will consume in a week or two, for optimum freshness. However, I don’t really follow this rule because I typically buy the large bag of organic coffee from Costco. And, here are the types of storage containers that I like to use…
Rule #4 – Grind your Beans!:
Buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing coffee to maintain freshness and quality… At least that’s what I do! There are several reviews out on the Internet about burr grinders vs. blade grinders and for me, the burr grinder seems to be the best choice. The reason is, a blade grinder actually cuts or chops the coffee beans, causing the grind to be more inconsistent. However, a burr grinder actually grinds them, making the beans more consistently ground. As a result, this should maintain the coffee’s freshness and quality as well! See where I’m going with this? If you’re convinced, here is an affordable stainless steel burr grinder that we’ve used but we are currently searching for other options…
Rule #5 – Buy Organic!:
I believe that everyone should switch to an organic diet to reduce the amount of toxins in our bodies and I am learning that coffee fields that are not organic have some of the most toxic chemicals sprayed on them, in comparison to other crops. This is not only bad for people but also bad for the environment. Organic coffee does not have synthetic chemicals or GMOs. And, studies show that drinking organic vs. non-organic coffee provides so many more benefits. Not only does it taste better but your body processes organic foods more easily, because it is not working so hard on getting rid of toxins. If that’s not enough, organic coffee has a lot of antioxidants which is known to help with boosting overall health and prevent disease! So, going organic sounds really good to me!
Rule #6 – Manage your Temperature!:
I recently read that the National Coffee Association says that the best range to brew coffee is between 195°F to 205°F to best desolve water-soluble flavor compounds. And, you should try not to go above or below this range. So, I decided to buy a pour over coffee maker with a built-in thermometer (see above) to help with getting the temperature of my brew just right. With this said, I don’t think that it’s necessary to use a thermometer at all. What I’ve typically done is bring water to a boil in a stainless steel pot. Then, I remove the lid, and wait about a minute before I pour it over my ground beans. Based on my research, this seems to be a good and safe rule of thumb.
Rule #7 – Make a Colorful Choice!:
I have read that darker whole coffee beans contain more antioxidants and I don’t have a clear rule on this yet. But, below is one of several articles that I’ve found about this and there are many more so I guess the fast rule is… Research away and decide what’s best for you!
Rule #8 – Don’t just Take my Words for it!:
There is so much information out there about what is and is not good for you. I’ve tried to do as much of my own research as possible to come up with this quick reference guide. And, I’ve spoken with my own healthcare experts, and those who I trust, to confirm some of the questions or opinions that I’ve had. And, I think everyone should do the same.
Rule #9 – Read Rule #5 Again!:
I cannot stress enough to buy organic, whenever possible. I’ve read a quote that always sticks with me and that is, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” I believe this and think that choosing to support organic farming and any small thing that I can do, like buying organic, to help make this world a better place, especially for my daughter, are so important. I didn’t always think this way though but being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about this now. I understand that organic foods can get expensive but I’ve learned that changing to a healthier diet can actually help with balancing out the cost. This means, cut out processed foods, dairy, white sugar and meats, as much as possible. For me, I’ve decided to reduce these things down to about 10-20% of my diet. And, if you think organic is expensive, believe me, medical treatments are much more costly!
Rule #10 – Try a Little Moderation, Would ya!?:
Many people may know that a healthy diet and lifestyle are very important and that you should never over indulge on any one thing, if you want to maintain a good healthy balance in your life. So, it’s a no brainer that you should drink coffee in moderation. I believe that using organic whole beans that are stored, ground and brewed properly, and drinking in moderation, can be very beneficial in terms of health. So, I’ve decided to limit my coffee intake to 1 cup every other day. But, that’s just me. Here are a few studies and articles on the health benefits of coffee that may help with deciding on how much well made coffee to enjoy!
Okay, so it wasn’t really 10 rules per se, but I created this blog as a simple reference for a better informed coffee experience!