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Organic Coffee: the Superior Bean

When shopping for the right coffee, there are many things to consider. Light roast or dark roast? Flavored beans or regular beans?

What about organic versus non-organic. Does it really make a difference?  

There are several benefits to choosing an organic coffee versus a non-organic coffee, but FIRST, it is important to understand the benefits of coffee.

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Coffee is More than a Stimulant

Coffee is mostly consumed for its ability to stimulate the brain. Reducing tiredness, improving cognitive function, and increasing motivation. It’s not just the caffeine that is fueling you. What most people do not know is coffee is a fruit that is packed full of antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are bioactive compounds found in plants that can neutralize and remove harmful free radicals in the body. 

Free radicals are unstable atoms that can harm cells and they are ubiquitous. The continuous exposure to free radicals and harm to cells leads to aging and chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and more. 

Not to be underestimated, the antioxidants in coffee are a powerful resource, shown to reduce Alzheimer’s disease by 64% and reduce Parkinson’s disease by 30%  

There are three active compounds in coffee that could explain how this beverage can improve health and prevent disease. 

1. Chlorogenic acid is an anti-inflammatory phytochemical which reduces inflammation in the body. It can reduce heart disease and strokes. It has anti-hyperglycemic properties that may reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels. 
2. Caffeic acid is an organic compound that also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic potential, which may prevent or reduce cancerous tumor growth. It also has antibacterial benefits that may reduce infections in the body.   
3. Trigonelline may help improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels.   It has antiviral characteristics which may fight off viruses such as the common cold. It is also an antibacterial agent.
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These are just three of several antioxidants found in coffee.
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All this in one little coffee bean, but what happens when these good beans turn bad?

 

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When Good Coffee Goes Bad

Coffee is filled with amazing antioxidants that may prevent several illnesses and ailments, but all of its benefits can be diminished through harmful farming and processing practices. Consuming healthy foods and drinks may be counterproductive if they contain harmful toxins found in pesticides, herbicides, and other fertilizing agents commonly used in traditional coffee agriculture. 

Check out 3 Common Chemicals Used in Coffee Bean Farming:

Abamectin which is for mosquito control. Since many coffee bean farms are located in tropical areas, farms are sprayed with abamectin to reduce mosquitos. This chemical can cause damage to organs after prolonged or repeated exposure.
Cypermethrin is an insecticide that is most harmful when directly exposed to, but it could be lurking in your cup of coffee.
Dichlorvos is a pesticide that may lead to neurological, reproductive, and carcinogenic diseases, as well as other systemic issues.  
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These are just three of many in a long list of chemicals that are used in traditional coffee bean farms. They represent the free radicals that our bodies are continuously fighting off.

SO YES, Coffee contains powerful antioxidants, but drinking it with a dose of free radical-causing chemicals reduces its quality. Therefore, to get the maximum benefits from your daily cup of coffee it is best to find a certified organic coffee brand. 

 

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Why Organic is Better

Organic means a better coffee bean with less potential for insecticide and pesticide exposure. 

Organic foods are produced through farming practices that only use natural substances. This means avoiding all artificial chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

This not only puts a better cup of coffee in the hands of the consumers but also protects the farmland, the farmers who work it, and the surrounding communities. 

When pesticides and insecticides are sprayed on the coffee bean trees or shrubs, the chemicals can saturate the coffee cherry while also leaking into the surrounding dirt and water sources.  

Supporting organic farmers not only improves the health of the coffee buyer, but also the health of the community growing and handling the coffee beans. Since coffee is mostly grown in third-world countries, the bean passes through many different hands before it lands in your cup. 

The USDA organic certification protects the coffee bean, not just during it's farming, but throughout the entire coffee-making process.

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The Life Cycle of a Coffee Bean

1. Sapling- This is the baby coffee bean tree. It started as a seed and is now starting to grow.
2. Flower- It takes about a year for the sapling to mature and produce a flower that will turn into a magical coffee bean.
3. Green Cherry- As the flower wilts and falls, a green coffee cherry resembling a grape starts to form.
4. Ripe Cherry- This green cherry eventually starts to turn red and fill with a sweet pulp that surrounds the bean inside. At this stage, the cherry is ready to be picked. 
5. Processed Bean- To turn this cherry into a coffee bean, the red skin and pulp is removed and the bean inside is dried. Once dried, they are shipped directly to the roaster (as in direct trade beans), or to larger distribution facilities where they are further stored and then distributed.
6. Roasted Bean- Once they arrive at the roaster, the green beans are roasted and bagged for consumers.


In order to receive the USDA organic certification, each step in the process is regularly inspected and must meet strict requirements that eliminate/limit harmful practices.

Choosing organic certifies you are getting the healthiest bean possible to provide you with the best health benefits. 

So, Why go organic? 

Healthier farms, healthier land, healthier people, healthier coffee, healthier you.

Now that's smart.

 DRINK SMART. THINK SMART.

 

Resources:

Sloczynska, K., Powroznik, B., Pekala, E., & Waszkielewica. (2014). Antimutagenic compounds and their possible mechanisms of action. Journal of Applied Genetics, 55(2), 273-285. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990861/#:~:text=Antimutagenic%20agents%20are%20able%20to,of%20compounds%20may%20be%20distinguished

 

Wierzejska R. (2017). Can coffee consumption lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease? A literature review. Archives of medical science : AMS, 13(3), 507–514. https://doi.org/10.5114/aoms.2016.63599 

 

Socała, K., Szopa, A., Serefko, A., Poleszak, E., & Wlaź, P. (2020). Neuroprotective Effects of Coffee Bioactive Compounds: A Review. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(1), 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010107 

 

National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 6435890, Abamectin. Retrieved October 11, 2022 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Abamectin.

 

National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 2912, Cypermethrin. Retrieved October 11, 2022 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Cypermethrin.

 

Okoroiwu, H. U., & Iwara, I. A. (2018). Dichlorvos toxicity: A public health perspective. Interdisciplinary toxicology, 11(2), 129–137. https://doi.org/10.2478/intox-2018-0009 

 

McEnvoy, M. (2019). Organic 101: What the USDA organic label means. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Organic 101: What the USDA Organic Label Means | USDA

 

 

 

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