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Should I Be Concerned About Pesticides in My Coffee?

Why you should check your coffee label twice.

For most North Americans, waking up with a fresh cup of coffee is the only way to get out of bed. But next to organic strawberries and organic cereal, you might be forgetting about pesticide-free coffee.

Recently, coffee has appeared on a number of lists for containing pesticides. Some groups and articles suggest agrochemicals used on stems and leaves could affect coffee beans, “in which case coffee beans could be carrying their residues.” Meanwhile other studies find the high roasting temperatures eliminate most pesticide residues, although in one study “green, roasted and instant coffee samples” treated with insecticide directly on the leaves contained residues.

While the health risks on the consumer are likely minimal and still a matter of debate, there’s no question about the impacts of pesticides on the environment and farm workers. Coffee is one of the largest and most important crops in the world, worth roughly $16.5 billion in the United States alone. The International Coffee Organization estimatesthere are nearly 26 million people employed in the coffee business across 52 countries. Next to Brazil and the European Union, the United States is one of the largest consumers of coffee and the largestmarket for organic coffee. Still, you might think organic coffee (farmed without the use of pesticides) would be close to conventional coffee in numbers. But organic coffee only accounts for 6.6 percentof the world’s harvested coffee.

It’s no wonder organic coffee hasn’t taken the coffee world over. In “Organic coffee: Why Latin America’s farmers are abandoning it” Ezra Fieser reports that farmers can get roughly 485 pounds more coffee from one acre, applying 250 pounds of chemical fertilizer per acre. Compare this to 285 pounds on an organic farm. He adds, Latin American farmers had made the switch to organic crops but they couldn’t sell their coffee at the higher price. “From Mexico to Costa Rica, at least 10 percent of growers [defected] in the past three years.”

Growing conventional coffee will also be affected by climate change. According to the International Trade Centre, climate change will mean an increase in pests and diseases. This could mean a greater dependence on pesticides and possibly even more coffee grown under irrigation, which would mean water supplies would also suffer.

 

The use of pesticides continues to add to soil erosion and polluted waters from soil runoff. And there’s still another problem with pesticides. According to the IFC, it’s estimated that in Africa alone, “there could be as much as 50,000 tons of obsolete pesticides” stored in hazardous stockpiles. The problem with disposal of pesticide is difficult because it can cost $3,000 to $5,000 per ton to remove. But, because the materials are not all the same, there’s “no blanket solution.”

Although studies have been conflicted on pesticide residues in drinking coffee, there’s a bigger consensus when it comes to farmer safety. In a recent study, scientists surveyed a random sample of 81 coffee farmers in eastern Jamaica where coffee production employs “more than 50,000 people and contributes 7 percent of the island’s agricultural earnings.”

In the study 78 percent of the farmers experienced symptoms related to pesticide handling, including “dizziness, headaches, difficult breathing and tightness in the chest.” Much of this could be attributed to improper handling and little to no training on pesticide handling — a common problem in countries with no oversight or regulation. In four of the observation sessions, not a single farmer used protection like a facemask or rubber gloves. Battling pests like the coffee cherry borer and coffee rust is much easier if you have a toxic pesticide to kill them. Unfortunately a number of pesticides being used have been linked to animal and wildlife deaths and in some cases human deaths.

For millions of coffee aficionados, the coffee of choice comes from Starbucks. It’s true Starbucks is one of the largest purchasers of coffee. They have made it their mission to provide fairtrade coffee and report that 95.3 percent of their coffee is ethically sourced. Still, organic coffee is harder to come at a Starbucks because only 1.1 percent of Starbucks’ coffee is organic.

All the types of coffee labels could make your head spin more than a quadruple shot espresso. There’s organic, fairtrade, shade-grown (which mean the coffee is grown under shade, signifying its commitment to the rainforest). Utz-certified coffee provides traceability programs and fair labor for farm workers and an “appropriate and modest use of fertilizers, pesticides, water and energy. Almost half of all fairtrade is certified organic as well. But on the issue of pesticides, if you want organic you’ll still want to verify the USDA organic label, as there are strict rules for any imports being labeled organic.

Clarissa A. Leon is AlterNet’s food editor. She formerly served as an investigative research assistant at The Daily Beast and The Nation Institute. 

By Clarissa A. León / AlterNet July 30, 2014
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The Case For Drinking Coffee Is Stronger Than Ever

There are few things more more ritualistic—and to many, more sacred—than a morning cup of joe. 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day—a statistic that’s barely budged since the ’90s. Despite warnings from doctors over the years that coffee may be hard on the body, people have remained devoted to the drink.

Luckily for them, the latest science is evolving in their favor. Research is showing that coffee may have net positive effects on the body after all.

Is coffee bad for you?

For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth. They worried that people could become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine. Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other ills.

All of this concern emerged from studies done decades ago that compared coffee drinkers to non-drinkers on a number of health measures, including heart problems and mortality. Coffee drinkers, it seemed, were always worse off.

But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality.

That understanding has led to a rehabilitated reputation for the drink. Recent research reveals that once the proper adjustments are made for confounding factors, coffee drinkers don’t seem have a higher risk for heart problems or cancer than people who don’t drink coffee. Recent studies also found no significant link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack.

Is coffee good for you?

Studies show that people who drink coffee regularly may have an 11% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers, thanks to ingredients in coffee that can affect levels of hormones involved in metabolism.

In a large study involving tens of thousands of people, researchers found that people who drank several cups a day—anywhere from two to four cups—actually had a lower risk of stroke. Heart experts say the benefits may come from coffee’s effect on the blood vessels; by keeping vessels flexible and healthy, it may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which can cause heart attacks.

It’s also high in antioxidants, which are known to fight the oxidative damage that can cause cancer. That may explain why some studies have found a lower risk of liver cancer among coffee drinkers.

Coffee may even help you live longer. A recent study involving more than 208,000 men and women found that people who drank coffee regularly were less likely to die prematurely than those who didn’t drink coffee. Researchers believe that some of the chemicals in coffee may help reduce inflammation, which has been found to play a role in a number of aging-related health problems, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some evidence also suggests that coffee may slow down some of the metabolic processes that drive aging.

One downside is that people may become dependent on caffeine (no surprise to any regular caffeine-drinker who takes a coffee break). The symptoms—headaches, irritability and fatigue—can mimic those of people coming off of addictive drugs. Yet doctors don’t consider the dependence anywhere close to as worrisome as addictions to habit-forming drugs like opiates. While unpleasant, caffeine “withdrawal” symptoms are tolerable and tend to go away after a day or so.

How much coffee is safe?

Like so many foods and nutrients, too much coffee can cause problems, especially in the digestive tract. But studies have shown that drinking up to four 8-ounce cups of coffee per day is safe. Sticking to those boundaries shouldn’t be hard for coffee drinkers in the U.S., since most drink just a cup of java per day.Moderation is key. But sipping coffee in reasonable amounts just might be one of the healthiest things you can do.

Alice Park   May 05, 2017    TIME 
source: time.com


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Drinking More Coffee Leads To A Longer Life, Two Studies Say

Greater consumption of coffee could lead to a longer life, according to two new studies published Monday.

The findings have resurfaced the centuries-old conversation on coffee’s health effects.
One study surveyed more than 520,000 people in 10 European countries, making it the largest study to date on coffee and mortality, and found that drinking more coffee could significantly lower a person’s risk of mortality.

The second study was more novel, as it focused on non-white populations. After surveying over 185,000 African-Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites, the researchers found that coffee increases longevity across various races.

People who drank two to four cups a day had an 18% lower risk of death compared with people who did not drink coffee, according to the study. These findings are consistent with previous studies that had looked at majority white populations, said Veronica Wendy Setiawan, associate professor of preventative medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, who led the study on nonwhite populations.

“Given these very diverse populations, all these people have different lifestyles. They have very different dietary habits and different susceptibilities – and we still find similar patterns,” Setiawan said.

The new study shows that there is a stronger biological possibility for the relationship between coffee and longevity and found that mortality was inversely related to coffee consumption for heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

The study on European countries revealed an inverse association between coffee and liver disease, suicide in men, cancer in women, digestive diseases and circulatory diseases. Those who drank three or more cups a day had a lower risk for all-cause death than people who did not drink coffee.

Both studies were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“We looked at multiple countries across Europe, where the way the population drinks coffee and prepares coffee is quite different,” said Marc Gunter, reader in cancer epidemiology and prevention at Imperial College’s School of Public Health in the UK, who co-authored the European study.

“The fact that we saw the same relationships in different countries is kind of the implication that its something about coffee rather than its something about the way that coffee is prepared or the way it’s drunk,” he said.

 

The biological benefits – and caveats

Coffee is a complex mixture of compounds, some of which have been revealed in laboratories to have biological effects, Gunter said.

Studies have shown that certain compounds have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce risk for illnesses like Parkinson’s disease.

In the European study, people who were drinking coffee tended to have lower levels of inflammation, healthier lipid profiles and better glucose control compared with those who weren’t. It is still unclear which particular compounds provide health benefits, but Gunter said he would be interested in exploring this further.

Both studies separated smokers from nonsmokers, since smoking is known to reduce lifespan and is linked to various deceases. However, they found that coffee had inverse effects on mortality for smokers too.

“Smoking doesn’t seem to blunt the effects of coffee,” Gunter said. “It didn’t matter whether you smoked or not. There was still a potential beneficial effect of coffee on mortality.”

However, Dr. Alberto Ascherio, professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said people should be wary of this finding.

 

“Even if it was in some way true, it doesn’t make sense to me, because by smoking, you increase your mortality several-fold. Then, if you reduce it by 10% drinking coffee, give me a break,” said Ascherio, who was not involved in the study.

“I think it’s a dangerous proposition because it suggests that a smoker can counteract the effects of smoking by drinking coffee, which is borderline insane.”

The studies complement work that has been done on coffee and mortality, he said, and it has been reasonably documented that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.

With all observations from previous studies, however, it’s difficult to exclude the possibility that coffee drinkers are just healthier to begin with, Gunter said.

People who avoid coffee, particularly in places like the US and Europe where drinking the beverage is very common, may do so because they have health problems. Their higher mortality rate could be a result of them being less healthy to begin with.

“I think that the solid conclusion is that if you’re a coffee drinker, keep drinking your coffee and be happy,” Ascherio said. And if you’re not? “I think you can go on drinking your tea or water without a problem.”

Meanwhile, Gunter and Setiawan stand a bit more firmly on coffee as a health benefit.
“The takeaway message would be that drinking a couple cups of coffee a day doesn’t do you any harm, and actually, it might be doing you some good,” he said.

“Moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Setiawan said. “This studies and the previous studies suggest that for a majority of people, there’s no long term harm from drinking coffee.”

 

By Daniella Emanuel, CNN         Mon July 10, 2017
source: www.cnn.com


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts all contain a little bit of cyanide. Eating them primes your liver to deal better with other poisons.

  • Only 6 percent of doctors today are happy with their jobs.

  • If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, we could save 1 million lives a year.

 

  • Smelling green apples and bananas can help you lose weight.

  • Sleep makes you more creative and makes your memories stronger.

  • Coffee can lower your risk of tooth decay.

Happy Friday!

 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • If someone truly loves you, they tend to hug you for at least 5 seconds or more.

  • Changing how you walk affects your mood.

  • Studies show that the walking through a doorway causes memory lapses, which is why we walk into another room, only to forget why we did.

  • Emotions are contagious. Unpleasant or negative emotions are more contagious than neutral or positive emotions.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on Earth after oil.
  • 1% of people are addicted to exercise.

  • Long distance relationships are as satisfying as normal relationships in terms of communication, intimacy, and commitment, studies show.

  • It takes your brain approximately 90 seconds to decide whether or not you like someone.

  • Laughter helps increase memory and learning. Incorporating humor into education leads to higher test scores.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Coffee improves short term memory, creativity and alertness.

  • Bees are directly responsible for the production of 70% of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that we consume on a daily basis.

  • Faking a smile will actually boost your mood.

 

  • Chocolate, sex and laughter are all key to a healthy brain.

  • North American school buses are yellow because humans see yellow faster than any other color, which is important for avoiding accidents.

  • Eating strawberries can improve vision and also help to reduce cancer risk.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Girls who have more ‘guy friends’ than ‘girl friends’ go through less depression and anxiety.
  • Napping actually improves stamina, boosts your creativity, boosts your sex life and reduces stress.
  • Blowing out candles on birthday cakes results in roughly 3000 bacteria capable of forming colonies on the cake.
  • Blood donors in Sweden are sent a text message every time their blood is used to save a life.
  • The most used drug worldwide is caffeine.
  • If two people are having a dispute, the angrier one is usually wrong. This is because anger clouds judgement.
  • When feeling depressed, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

 

Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact