5 Steps to Healthier Coffee – Ultimate Guide

steps to healthier coffee

With these 5 steps to healthier coffee, you will be able to keep your cup of java and achieve good health. We love our coffee for many reasons but what if I told we don’t need to eliminate coffee to be healthy.

Why Consider Healthier Coffee

Now you need to understand this – there is a big difference between loving your cup of coffee and needing your cup of coffee in the morning.  If you can’t skip your cup of coffee because you just can’t get going without it, you might be addicted to caffeine (not coffee – caffeine). Although caffeine affects people in different ways, the basic mechanism behind caffeine is the same for everyone.

Your brain uses a neurotransmitter called adenosine to tell you that you’re tired. The more adenosine you build up, the more tired you feel. When you take caffeine, it prevents adenosine from acting on your brain, making you feel more alert.

As well, caffeine (not coffee) definitely triggers cortisol release. In fact, the increase in cortisol is part of the reason why caffeine makes you feel more alert. If your lack of morning energy is due to disturbed cortisol metabolism (HPA dysregulation or adrenal fatigue), the triggering of cortisol might just set your back even further.

Instead of seeing your tiredness as a negative element in your life, I would suggest that you see this as a body message and start to listen to the symptom. No more band-aids!

I personally chose to removed coffee from my diet for nearly 2 years before I figured out that there was another way. There is a way for you to continue to enjoy your morning cup of coffee without causing negative side effects.

My love for coffee is exactly why and how I came up with these 5 steps to healthier coffee. You don’t have to ditch your coffee… just make some using these 5 tricks to healthier coffee 😀.

steps to healthier coffee

Healthier coffee step #1: Bean type & quality

The very first of the steps to healthier coffee is to consider if you should choose decaf or caffeinated coffee.  If you read the previous section and think you might have an HPA dysregulation or adrenal fatigue, you may want to choose decaf. If you think you are already stressed enough and it might be better for you to reduce your stress level, decaf might be for you.

You must know that not all decaf coffee is a good choice because the decaffeination process may use chemicals and therefore unhealthy. You must select a Swiss Water Decaffeinated coffee that uses a safe decaffeinating process using water and no chemical. All coffee that has been decaffeinated using this safe and healthy process will be identified as such and is likely a little more expensive than regular decaf coffee.

The next step is whether to choose ground or whole bean. My answer is the whole bean all the way. The shell of the coffee bean protects the actual bean from oxidation as well prevents the coffee bean from losing it precious flavor. After 15 minutes of being ground, the coffee loses 60% of its aroma. Invest in a simple coffee grinder to preserve the health benefits and flavor of your coffee beans while creating a routine around your coffee preparation.

Bean quality

Another element to consider is the mycotoxins found in coffee. This is one of the most important steps to healthier coffee which you must not skip. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease (cardiomyopathy,  cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, and even brain damage or death in humans and other animals.  

One study that tested 60 coffee bean varieties found that 91% of green coffee beans were contaminated by mycotoxins. Select a single origin coffee bean (not blends as these are typically made from the lowest grade beans from each origin) from a higher elevation origin such as Ethiopia, Columbia, or Kenya.  Arabica beans are typically less mouldy than robusta beans.

Organic or not? Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world after water – a standing which helps rank it as one of the largest traded commodities — second only to oil (according to The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide). The use of pesticides in growing the crop is very strong in order to keep up to the demand for the beautiful bean. Organically grown coffee is free of chemical residues.

This is an attribute that prompts many connoisseurs to claim it to have a fuller, richer flavor than conventionally grown coffee and evidently better for our health. Note that “Fair trade”  doesn’t mean organic.  Many small farmers can’t afford the official organic certification but grow their crop using traditional methods.

My recommendation is to purchase organic single origin arabica whole coffee beans from a higher elevation origin. I personally drink  Swiss water Decaffeinated due to an ongoing HPA dysregulation and sensitive nervous system. This ensures that I have healthier coffee for my own health.

Healthier coffee step #2: Brewing

This step is all about maximizing the taste of your coffee. There are different methods to brew your cup of joe: dripping, french press, cold brew, instant and most recently, the single serve pod. You want to avoid methods that involve paper as levels of diterpenes (the oils released from grounds that give coffee its aroma and flavor) tend to be lower.  

Given that we want to use freshly ground beans, we are left with the cold brew and french press coffee brewing methods. The cold brew process will retain less caffeine than french press but will taste more fruity and less acidic. French press is the smoothest and richest brewing method. Click here to learn how to brew the perfect cup of healthier coffee.

Healthier coffee step #3: Cut out sugar

You have now selected the healthiest coffee bean and brewed your coffee using a method for the richest flavor. The last thing you want to do is add a toxic chemical – sugar – to your cup of healthy coffee. In some cases, this is the most challenging step because people is to reduce the “sugar” in their coffee, not the actual coffee. Sometimes people will add sugar to their coffee to cover up the bitter taste. A quality, organic coffee bean will not produce a bitter taste coffee.

Personally once I upgraded my coffee beans and started grinding my own coffee, I was able to ditch the sugar and enjoy the wonderful flavor of coffee.  I switched from adding sugar to adding cream and realized that I had been adding sugar instead of cream because of my old beliefs that fat was bad for me. Is the same for you? Are you still following this old school nutritional belief? If so, you must this or this and let go.

Putting artificial sweeteners in your coffee instead of sugar might feel like a good idea, given that it is calorie free but the evidence doesn’t support it. Multiple observational studies associate artificial sweeteners with all sorts of health problems so for this reason, do not put artificial sweeteners in your coffee. If you must absolutely have a sweet taste to your cup of healthier coffee, use stevia.  

Healthier coffee step #4: Add protein and fat

Starting your day with fat and protein instead of carbohydrates and sugar may make a significant difference to how you feel emotionally, how your brain engages and to your overall energy level. This is the reason why this is one of the best steps to healthier coffee. Cream is not your only option.  If you are dairy intolerant, coconut milk might be an good option for you (use only the cream part of the full fat canned coconut milk).

You can also add coconut oil which contains MCT (medium Chain triglyceride) that metabolizes differently than other saturated fats.  It goes straight to the liver from the digestive tract where it is used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies. These can have a therapeutic effect on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

MCT have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism.  Choosing to add MCT oil will increase the power of your coffee. If you choose to use MCT oil, it is recommended to also add another form of fat for better absorbability and digestibility such as cream, coconut milk or even butter.

Next, adding protein to your coffee along with a healthy source of fat will make your morning cup of coffee a complete meal. There are a few ways to add protein such as adding raw eggs but by far my favourite is to add collagen peptide to my coffee. Collagen contains the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Collagen has many health benefits and is considered a healing food.

You could also add spices that will not only add flavor but health benefits to your upgraded coffee (like my decaf unicorn fuel recipe).

Healthier coffee step #5: Don’t push it

Yes, we can make your coffee healthier but we can’t make a “12 cups of coffee a day addiction” healthy. You should limit your coffee intake to once a day. Don’t push your limits! 

If you choose to drink caffeinated coffee, drinking it late in the day can interfere with our sleep  – poor sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems.

Having more than a few cups of coffee a day may lead to an addiction.  I would suggest that you reduce your consumption in the first week by 50% and the following week by another 50% until you get to 1 cup a day before 2 p.m.

After Taking These 5 Steps to Healthier Coffee, Enjoy a Hot Cup!

We live in a world that makes us feel guilty about food – don’t eat this, don’t eat that, this food will kill you, that food will kill you.  Of course, a lot of that is true but you can take any food, create negative thoughts around it and actually make it unhealthier to consume with those stressful thoughts. Negative thoughts create negative emotions that lead to bad choices all day!  

Stress depletes nutrients from the body, too.  So don’t feel guilty about your one-cup-per-day of organic, freshly grounded arabica coffee with fat and protein. Just make sure to follow these 5 steps to healthier coffee!

Share your thoughts: Have you ever eliminated coffee from your daily life? Did you consider switching to decaf? How much do you love your coffee?

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Stephanie Dodier

Hello! I'm Stephanie, Clinical Nutritionist, author and host of The Beyond The Food Show and founder of The Beyond The Food Academy . I'm help women become intuitive eaters & body confident!. Get started now with my free Audio Training.

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