Posted on August 5, 2010 -
Many of us (including me,) jumpstart the day with a cup of coffee. Which is all well and good, unless it gets called breakfast. By the time we approach middle age our body starts displacing (i.e. eating) our muscle mass, if we don’t have protein in the morning. But it lets us keep the fat, and since muscle burns fat, the more muscle we lose over time, the harder it is to shake those extra pounds. Also, if we sweeten the coffee, we have added an insulin spike to the start of the day, leading to the ups and downs of blood sugar levels, for the rest of the day.
What I suggest (and do myself,) is to incorporate a protein into the morning routine. I take a cup of soy or rice milk, add the remaining half a mug of my coffee, a scoop of whey protein isolate, and some flax fiber and flax seed oil (1 tbsp.) The fiber and oil slow the transit time of the protein through the gut. This allows the shake to stick around long enough to constitute a meal. Aside from preserving muscle mass, whey protein enhances immune function and helps to keep ones’ blood sugar levels stable.
Another technique to add value to your morning coffee, is to add about a quarter teaspoon of either burdock or dandelion root to the water, bring to a boil, and then pour over the grounds. Both of these herbs support liver function, help detoxify the blood and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Since they have a slightly bitter taste, they complement the coffee well.
It is important when purchasing a coffee that it be organic. Since coffee is a Third World cash crop it is usually heavily sprayed with pesticides. Also, grinding it fresh offers potential immune enhancing benefits that are lost when grounds are old (oils go rancid,) or when it has been brewed an hour or more ago. You will notice that old coffee, that has been kept hot for a length of time, leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. At this point it is mildly toxic.
Another seldom considered fact about coffee is that it raises stomach acid levels. For blood types with low stomach acid (Type A and Type AB,) coffee taken after a meal can aid digestion, and even on an empty stomach is not too abrasive. For those with Type O blood (the most common blood type,) who are pre-disposed to high stomach acid levels, coffee on an empty stomach can be an irritant, and even contribute to ulcer formation. Those with Type O blood should only take coffee following food, if they find it hard on their stomach.
In the health field coffee is considered to be least damaging when it is taken black, rather than whitened and sweetened. French and espresso roasts have less caffeine but more acids, which are hard on the stomach and intestines. Also coffee and espresso drinks that are not filtered through paper, leave in compounds linked to raising blood cholesterol levels.