The average American drinks 3.2 cups of coffee every day. Aside from the rich taste, we drink coffee mostly for the caffeine lift. Caffeine wakes us up, boosts our mood, gives us a burst of energy—for many, it’s an essential part of their day. The delicious taste of coffee, however, doesn’t come from the caffeine, which is tasteless and odorless. Instead, the coffee flavor comes from the many phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) the organic coffee beans contain. And it’s the phytochemicals that make coffee, good for you. The positive impact on your health is so clear that the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans say moderate consumption (three to five 8-ounce cups a day, or up to 400 mg of caffeine a day) can be incorporated into a healthy eating style.
What makes explicitly organic coffee so good for you? It’s the many different phytochemicals (naturally occurring compounds) organic coffee contains. In addition to some B complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, organic coffee contains hundreds of phytochemicals. Many acts as antioxidants in the body, reducing harmful inflammation and preventing cellular damage.
Fiber in Coffee
There’s one other thing in organic coffee that makes a vast difference to your gut health: fiber. Organic coffee turns out to be a surprisingly good source of fiber—one cup of drip-brewed coffee has about 1.1 grams of soluble fiber. That may not sound like much per cup, but most Americans get only about 15 grams of fiber a day, or about half the recommended daily amount. Multiplied by several cups a day, even 1.1 grams per cup is a valuable contribution toward your daily fiber recommendation of at least 30 grams a day.
Fiber in the diet is key to a healthy gut microbiome—the vast community of bacteria and other microorganisms found mostly in your colon. You need a healthy microbiome for normal digestion and a robust immune system. Still, it influences almost every other aspect of your health as well, including your risk of chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
Your gut has trillions of bacteria from hundreds of different species, all competing for space. Most of the bacteria are beneficial, or at least not harmful. But when the microbiome gets out of balance, unfriendly bacteria can start to multiply and crowd the friendly bacteria. Dysbiosis, as this unhealthy imbalance is called, can lead to a wide range of health issues, from gas and bloating to heart disease, depression, and even obesity.
Fiber encourages gut diversity—having many different bacteria species in the microbiome. A diverse gut helps prevent dysbiosis by helping good bacteria multiply and keeping bad bacteria in check. Recent research shows that overall, regular organic coffee drinkers seem to have more diversity in their gut bacteria compared to non-coffee drinkers—and the more coffee you drink, the more diverse your microbiome. A 2019 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that heavy coffee drinkers have higher levels of anti-inflammatory gut bacteria and lower levels of potentially harmful bacteria. An exciting aspect of the study is that the heavy coffee drinkers had healthier gut microbiomes regardless of how healthy their diet was in general. What’s the secret here? It’s the combination of fiber and phytochemicals, acting synergistically, to make your gut more hospitable to a balanced microbiome.
So, if organic coffee is good for your gut, and having a diverse array of bacteria is also good for your gut, let’s drink some organic coffee for its health benefits.
APA Gurwara, Shawn MD; Dai, Annie; Ajami, Nadim Ph.D.; El-Serag, Hashem B. MD, MPH; Graham, David Y. MD, MACG; Jiao, Li MD. Caffeine Consumption and the Colonic Mucosa-Associated Gut Microbiota, American Journal of Gastroenterology: October 2019 – Volume 114 – Issue – p S119-S120