Is Coffee Paleo?

coffee

We examine the paleo-ness of coffee

Starting your day can often need a kickstart, so along with millions of others I tend to grab a cup of coffee or espresso in the morning.  Today’s post covers my favorite caffeine loaded drink thanks to a contribution from Alisa at paleoinpdx. As always we welcome your submissions on here and via the Is It Paleo mobile app.  Let’s get the skinny on our cup of joe.

What is Coffee?

Despite its bean moniker, the coffee bean is the seed inside the fruit of the coffee tree, otherwise known as the coffee berry or “coffee cherry.” The coffee tree is a type of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It’s a tropical tree or shrub that originates in Africa. Currently, it’s grown in warmer climates of the world, such as South America, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and parts of Asia.

To make the actual beverage we know as coffee, the seeds of the coffee plant are ground, roasted and then percolated. Once brewed, it can be consumed a variety of ways: black, iced, blended, au lait, bulletproof and so forth. Coffee is valued for its flavor and aroma, and is renowned for its energy-stimulating effects.

Is Coffee Paleo?

Paleo advocates around can probably all agree that coffee is paleo, but it’s all in the manner of how you drink it. Drinking it black, unsweetened, bulletproof or with full-fat coconut milk seems to be widely accepted in the paleo-sphere. Adding a natural sweetener, such as stevia, coconut sap sugar, or honey, will increase your carb intake, but still keep you mostly within the paleo realm.  However, adding dairy milk, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavoring to the equation makes it undoubtedly, un-paleo.

Additional Thoughts

Paleo or not, there’s more to consider when it comes to coffee. It also a matter of health and whether it’s doing you more harm than good. Reason being, coffee has an addictive nature, gut-irritating properties and elicits negative effects on sleep patterns. With that said, make sure your health and sleep are on track first before taking part in the coffee ritual. To quote Jason Seib, author of The Paleo Coach, “coffee is fine for healthy people.” In other words, if your gut is healed, sleep is on track, stress is under control and you do not suffer from adrenal fatigue, then consuming moderate amounts of coffee is fine.  Otherwise, it’s probably not the best idea.

Additionally, if you enjoy coffee, but it doesn’t agree with you, don’t feel like you have to give it up completely. Try giving decaf or cold-brewed coffee a shot. Decaf does not contain the caffeine that regular coffee does, however it is still present in trace amounts. Cold-brewed coffee can be made regular or decaf, and is much less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee (aka, easier on the gut). It also contains less caffeine per cup when brewed in this manner.

For further pros and cons about coffee in general, see the infographic below from the Harvard School of Public Health.

pros and cons of coffee consumption

(source: http://thebiznavigator.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/pros-and-cons-of-coffee-consumption-infographic.jpg)

What do you think about coffee? Do you drink it? If so, how do you take it?

Resources:

http://coffeetea.about.com/od/Coffee-Glossary/g/Coffee.htm

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/chocolate-coffee-alcohol/

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