Mold Toxins In Your Coffee
The Type Of Coffee You Drink Is Incredibly Important.
Good coffee is good for you, but bad coffee is bad for you.
If you drink coffee, make sure it’s organic. After tobacco and cotton, conventionally-produced coffee is the third most heavily chemically treated crop in the world. According to recent statistics, up to 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed per acre of conventional coffee. When you sip your conventional coffee, you are ingesting the pesticide residues, which contribute to many health problems.
Conventional coffee is also a high mold-toxin food.
“Mold toxins form in coffee because the coffee industry saves money by harvesting coffee cherries and than letting them sit in unfiltered water for a couple of days to soften the pulp around the seed. During that time, uncontrolled fermentation creates mold toxins” – Dave Asprey “Head Strong.”
One study of coffee beans grown in Brazil found that over 90% of the beans were contaminated with mold before they were processed. (1) Another study showed that 52% of green coffee beans and almost 50% of brewed coffees are moldy. (2)
“Studies on coffee and health don’t control for processing methods or the source of the beans. This means the coffee beans are almost always contaminated with mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are damaging compounds created by molds which grow on coffee beans (among other things). These compounds cause all sorts of health problems like cardiomyopathy, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, and even brain damage. They also make your coffee taste bitter, like it needs sugar. Mycotoxins are in almost all low quality brands of coffee. Some types of coffee have more mycotoxins than others, which is why you see some studies showing a benefit to drinking coffee, and others showing negative health outcomes. The problem isn’t coffee, it’s the mold on your coffee.” (3)
One type of mold toxin, called Ochratoxin A (OTA) – found especially in high-polyphenol foods such as coffee, wine, chocolate – is an immune suppressant and makes you more susceptible to cancer and various diseases. (4)
Roasting the coffee beans would kill the mold but it doesn’t destroy the Ochratoxin A (OTA) chemical that the mold has created. (5)
Most countries have set limits for the allowable amounts of OTA that can be present in coffee. But the United States and Canada, however, do not have restrictions on the most damaging toxins in coffee.
Decaf coffee contains even more mold toxins than caffeinated, partly because producers use lower-quality beans to make decaf. This is also because caffeine acts as a natural anti-fungal defense mechanism for the plant that deters mold and other organisms from growing on the beans. When you remove the caffeine, the beans are left defenseless against mold that forms if the beans are stored improperly after roasting. (6)
Besides, the majority of conventionally decaffeinated coffee is produced by soaking coffee beans in a toxic soup of solvents like methylene chloride, or ethyl acetate, a central nervous system poison and also considered harmful to the kidneys and liver. (7)
Instant coffee also comes from cheap beans that tend to be moldier.
Most people who feel jittery, get headaches or feel like they can’t tolerate coffee, are not actually responding to coffee, they are responding to what else is in the coffee.
If you are caffeine sensitive or have an adverse reaction to coffee, you might not have the same reaction to a different brand of coffee, a different type of bean, or a different brewing method.
Coffee can be great if your body tolerates it and if it comes from a good source. The body knows what it needs and adjusts accordingly. You have to make your own decision about coffee, based on how you feel and how your body reacts.
How To Reduce Your Risks Of Getting Mold Toxins In Your Coffee
According to Dave Asprey, a coffee guru, you should look for:
- Single-estate coffee. That means the beans come from one place. Avoid major brands, as they tend to mix coffees from different growers, which allows for more contamination. Blends of coffee are a bad idea.
- Look for washed coffee (wet-processed beans) because is better than natural process-coffee. Steer clear of natural process entirely. In wet processing, the fruit covering the bean is removed before it’s dry. This method improves the consistency and cleanliness of the bean.
- Look for Central American coffee, which is often better than coffee from other regions.
- Look for high elevation, as that can reduce mold problems by making stronger plants.
Organic coffee can grow mold toxins just like conventional coffee can, so it’s also good to search for brands that have low levels of mold. Dave’s Asprey Bulletproof Coffee is one brand that does. It is tested for twenty-seven different toxins.
Coffee Makers Are Also Full Of Bacteria And Mold
If you use a coffee maker, you could also be swallowing harmful bacteria and mold. Coffee brewers are wet and warm. After you brew your coffee, the coffee maker sits with warm water in the reservoir and the tubing. It is a perfect place to grow mold and fungus.
Researchers at the University of Valencia in Spain conducted a study on the cleanliness of coffee makers that found all machines tested, regardless of their quality, had significant bacterial diversity. (8) More than half the machines had bacteria such as E coli, staphylococcus, stretococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Another study from NSF International found that about half of coffee makers (we’re talking the classic, basket-and-carafe kind) had yeast and mold growing in their reservoirs. (9)
“Bacteria forms a slick biofilm when grown in moist, dark places, and so do molds. If there is obvious slimy stuff in the coffee maker … this is a good sign there is something growing.” Donna Duberg, M.A., M.S., an assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University.
Coffee brewers with reservoirs need to be cleaned at least once a month to remove scale, mold and fungus.
To clean your coffee maker you should fill the brewer’s reservoir with white vinegar (or lemon juice) and run the brew cycle until it is all out. Then fill the reservoir with clean, fresh water and run the brew cycle until it is all cleaned out (about three times). If you are still getting black stuff in the clean water, you should repeat the vinegar cycle.
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