Throughout the early 1970s many small family owned natural and gourmet food stores were boycotted by health food distributors because specialty coffee was carried. These health food distributors would refuse to deliver their orders. It is amazing that after thirty-five years and thousands of studies on the health effects of coffee, just how much has changed. A summary of the findings of these studies may lead one to think that coffee is the wonder drug of the new millennium.
Some of these findings include the discovery that coffee drinkers have a reduced rate of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, certain types of breast cancer, gallstones, colon cancer, asthma attacks, bladder cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, depression and suicide, and even a reduction in cardiovascular disease. Coffee drinkers also have been shown to have improved performance on memory tests and improved athletic performance as well.
Additionally, one serving of coffee has more antioxidants than a serving of blueberries, raspberries, or orange juice and up to ten times more antioxidants than that found in green tea. Green coffee extracts are available which have a high polyphenol antioxidant content with 90% less caffeine then typical coffee most people around the world consume giving one the benefits of the coffee bean with little caffeine side effects.
However, all individuals do not react the same to a particular food. Actually, individuals may develop irregular heart rates when they are subjected to any form of caffeine, including chocolate, soda pop, aspirin, or coffee. Some individuals may also be mildly susceptible to the somewhat addictive effects of these products. But, there is a much more serious health question pertaining to coffee, how was yours produced?
Since coffee is grown in over eighty countries worldwide and consists of a seventy billion dollar market at retail, the positive and negative influence of coffee growing, purchasing, and trading are extremely significant. Coffee business provides sustenance for over 123 million people throughout the world. Most of the coffee produced is grown conventionally using pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. DDT and lead arsenic, along with a lot of other banned chemicals, are used in coffee growing. The uterine cancer rates in women and rates of child birth defects are out of control in those areas where conventional coffee growing takes place. Deforestation in ecologically significant areas of the planet is rampant, since sun hybrid coffee is planted in places of shade, causing varieties to boost yield per acre.
The good news is that the old, better tasting varieties, which were grown the old way under a canopy of shade trees and using organic farming methods still exist. Small family farms have been organized into Fair Trade Cooperatives and have been trained to grow their varieties using the latest organic farming methods. This results in a product that will sustain your lifestyle and also provide for the people and the environment where your coffee comes from.
Different certifications can help to recognize and support sustainable agriculture and social justice when enjoying your cup of healthy coffee. These labels include Organic, Fair Trade, and Smithsonian Shade Grown “Bird-Friendly”. Coffee remains to be one of the world’s true values, with just 60-80 cups per pound a serving being just 12-16 cents. Thanks to our farming partners and roasters, the world is consuming the real value of specialty organic coffee.
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