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Coffee Talk

by Mila McManus, MD

Coffee is the NUMBER ONE pesticided crop in the world. Purchase certified organic coffee and use pure filtered water.

Coffee lovers and connoisseurs abound thanks to Starbucks and other similar West coast chains making coffee a work of art.  In America, at least 6 out of 10 people start their day with a cup or two. There is research which suggests health benefits such as protection from type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, liver, and Parkinson’s disease – that is, if your coffee is not toxic.

Here’s what you need to know to make good choices:

  • There are no maximum pesticide residue limits set by governments despite the fact that coffee is the NUMBER ONE pesticide-sprayed crop in the world. It is estimated that there are at least 40 different pesticides and chemicals used on coffee crops around the world with little or no regulation to limit their use.
  • Mycotoxins are another common problem. These toxic compounds are produced by mold or fungus, and are formed on the beans before or after harvest, during storage, and during transport where there are damp, warm, humid conditions. Mycotoxins are a cause of many health issues. Some are known carcinogens (Aflatoxin B1 for example) while others cause kidney, liver, and brain damage.  In one sample of 66 different coffees, 33% of them had at least one mycotoxin on them.
  • Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that is formed when the beans are roasted. There is no way to avoid them all together, however avoiding lighter roasts and instant coffee eliminate the highest levels.
  • Decaf is not necessarily any better and can be worse.  Chemicals are used to remove caffeine.  If you do choose decaf, make sure a cold or Swiss water process is used to remove the caffeine.

Here’s how to reduce exposure to the harmful toxins and chemicals in your coffee:

  • To reduce Acrylamide, choose dark roasted coffee.
  • Purchase certified organic coffee where pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals cannot be used.
  • Seek out coffees that are stored in temperature-controlled areas and packaging to avoid humidity where mold and fungus can grow on the beans. Natural Force and Bulletproof coffees pride themselves in preventing mold growth on their beans. Avoid purchasing coffee beans from bulk containers.
  • You might want to consider reducing your coffee intake to lower you exposure to harmful molds and chemicals.
  • Other ways to improve the quality and healthfulness is to use filtered water and a pour over or unbleached paper filter rather than plastic pods which add plastics and vinyl to your coffee. These are known hormone disrupters that can lead to hormone imbalances, weight gain, and fertility issues, to name a few. 
  • Support organizations like the Environmental Working Group who work for you, the consumer, to ban the use of harmful chemicals in our food, soil, air, and water.

Enjoy a good cup of coffee by starting with the cleanest resources, organic coffee and pure filtered water.





By |2023-02-21T12:36:28-05:00February 22nd, 2023|Articles, General|

Coffee and High Cholesterol?

by Nancy Mehlert, MS

Photo by Mike Kenneally

If your cholesterol continues to climb, you may be interested to know that one possible culprit worth exploring is your coffee preparation method!  There are compounds in coffee called diterpines, one specifically called cafestol, which has cholesterol boosting properties for some people.  One review said that patients with high cholesterol seem to be more sensitive to the cafestol in coffee.  It is found in both regular and decaffeinated coffee.  Cafestol is highest in pressed coffee preparations such as espresso and French pressed coffee.  Coffee prepared through a paper filter has the least amount of cafestol.  Instant coffee has relatively little. You need not forego your coffee, just save the French pressed for special occasions or run it through a paper filter after you press it.



By |2020-10-13T06:59:22-05:00October 13th, 2020|General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

The “Need to Know” about Coffee and Tea

By Nancy Mehlert, MScoffee and tea

Edited by Mila McManus MD

Over the last decade, there have been many meta-analyses and other studies supporting the benefits of, and possible links between, coffee and tea reducing risk for chronic diseases.  As recent as 2015, even the Dietary Guidelines for Americans added coffee and tea as a recommended beverage that could be safely consumed daily without detrimental effects. That came from research pointing to both coffee and tea as demonstrating anti-cancer effects, as well as protective qualities for the heart, brain, and liver.   Research also has shown an association with lower risk for many other diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and overall mortality.

At the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers stated findings that suggest Americans get more antioxidants from drinking coffee than from any other dietary source and emphasized that “nothing else even comes close”. ¹ Well I guess that just proves two things – lots of us enjoy our coffee and tea, and perhaps many of us are not eating enough fruits and vegetables.  That said, if you truly want the health benefits associated with drinking coffee and tea, and it is a daily practice for you, then here are some things you need to know to reap the benefits:

  • Quality is essential! Both should be organic. Coffee is one of the most heavily pesticided crops in the world. It would also help if you seek sustainably shade-grown coffee to protect tropical rain forests and bird habitats. The green tea plant roots are especially receptive to absorbing lead, fluoride, and other toxins in the soil, so it’s important that tea be grown away from excessive industrial pollution (like China where 90% of the world’s green tea is produced!). Instead, it should be grown in a pristine environment, preferably using an organic, sustainable method.  Whole leaf Matcha green tea is recommended to be obtained from Japan rather than China.
  • Buy whole bean coffee. Coffee, once ground, becomes rancid very, very rapidly. Thus, the vast majority of the coffee for sale in the marketplace that is already ground is rancid.  You will get the caffeine, but none of the other health benefits of the coffee. Coffee should have a pleasant aroma.  If not, it is likely rancid. Buy whole bean and grind it as you use it.
  • Look for dark roast to get the health benefits. The darker the pigment the greater the health benefits. Look for French Roast, espresso or Turkish coffee for maximum benefit.
  • Check out your filters. If you use paper filters, be sure they are non-bleached papers. Pure white filters have been chlorine bleached and usually also contain disinfection by-products such as dioxin. This makes your daily cup of joe a very counterproductive toxic drink!
  • Skip the milk and sugar! One of the benefits of coffee and tea come from a group of compounds called There is good evidence that dairy creamers interfere with the absorption of these compounds in the body. Also, sugar will contribute to insulin resistance which is at the heart of most chronic disease.  Check out www.coconutoilcreations.com . Our office tried the Mocha and the Pumpkin Spice and all agreed it was latte style as good as your favorite coffee shop. If a sweetener is needed then stick with a natural option such as stevia, erythritol, xylitol or lo han/monkfruit.
  • One caution: While it does appear that coffee and tea in moderation can be beneficial, there can be adverse effects, especially if you are consuming excessive quantities. If you are already generally healthy, consuming moderate amounts are fine and even good for your health.  If you are chronically fatigued, have anxiety or high blood pressure, caffeine can negatively impact hormone balance, neurotransmitter function and nerve signaling, and, therefore, it would be best to limit or avoid the caffeine associated with coffee and tea.


¹Eurek Alert August 28, 2014

By |2017-08-26T09:31:50-05:00August 26th, 2017|Articles, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|