Antioxidants in Coffee vs. Vegetables
Over the years, many of my patients have been addicts. Of course, they don't think of themselves that way. The word "addict" is pretty loaded and usually suggests something illegal. But coffee addiction is perfectly legal, and in fact, many people think that their morning cup of joe is actually a health food! I can assure you it's not. I like the way Dr. Joel Fuhrman sums it up: "Coffee is most like a drug, not a food. Like most drugs it may have some minor benefits, but it's toxic effect and resultant risks overwhelm those minor advantages."
Most of us have heard that coffee has antioxidants. This is true. Coffee is derived from the ground bean of the coffee plant, and plants are full of antioxidants. So what's the important news here? It's not that coffee is "healthy." The important information is that PLANTS are the best source of antioxidants!
Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton agrees. In 2005 Dr. Vinson presented the results of his research to the American Chemical Society. He found that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, but only because Americans drink so much of it and eat so few fruits and vegetables. Dr. Vinson said, "Unfortunately, consumers are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables, which are better for you . . . due to their higher content of vitamins, minerals, and fiber."
The studies showing the "benefit" of coffee's antioxidants are usually done with test subjects eating a standard American diet full of processed foods, meat, dairy, oil, and refined grains. In other words, their diet is lacking in antioxidants, so drinking coffee supplies some of that lack, thus appearing to be beneficial. The benefits of the antioxidants would be better achieved through a diet of whole plant foods which are rich not only in antioxidants, but also vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. To put it simply, there are better ways to get your antioxidants than by drinking coffee.
Coffee affects our body in a negative way while fruits and vegetables are protective and supportive. Here are just a few of the problems with coffee:
- Raises cholesterol by 10% if coffee is unfiltered (think espresso and French press)
- Reduces blood flow to the brain by 40%
- Raises blood pressure
- Increases incidence of acid reflux
- Decreases absorption of iron from foods
- Causes calcium to be leached from the bones leading to osteoporosis
You can read more about the dangers of coffee in Win the War on Coffee Addiction or view my dvd on food addictions below. These resources will give you some tips for ending caffeine addiction. Remember, coffee is not a health food, it's a habit.
Joel Fuhrman MD Links
Preview the "Why We Do What We Do?" Trailer
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