Study after study has been released showing many of the health benefits of drinking coffee every day. Of course, it is not without its critics either. In fact, some so called experts have even gone so far as saying that coffee is dangerous to drink. One of the main reasons they believe this is the presence of mycotoxins in coffee. Some claim there is a large number of contaminated coffees offered in the grocery stores.
What are Mycotoxins?
Fungus is a type of organism which comes in three forms-molds, yeast and mushrooms. Mycotoxins are, to put it simply, poisonous and harmful to us humans if we ingest enough of it. These toxins are created by fungi in the form of mold and are present on almost all the crops grown around the world. At the heart of the debate on coffee, however, is are these toxins removed properly before the coffee makes it into your morning cup of wake me up juice each day. The type of mycotoxins developed in coffee are Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxin B1. They are known to cause cancer and believed to be a carcinogen in weaker form. More studies are needed on this type of mycotoxin in coffee to prove the content in coffee.
Are Mycotoxins Regulated?
While not every country in the world monitors these levels, over 100 countries do and most of these include their coffee exports in these regulations. This means that the mycotoxin levels must be very low in coffee and any other crop in order for it to be placed in the food supply.
What Research Has Been Done on Mycotoxins?
Scientists studies have found the following in various kinds of coffee.
- Twenty of sixty samples of coffee beans from Brazil contained low level of Ochratoxin A
- The peak levels of aflatoxins were found in decaffeinated coffee beans
- Roasting coffee reduces the levels of aflatoxins by nearly 50%
- Eighteen of forty coffee brews available commercially contained small amounts of Ochratoxin A
- Eight of thirty roasted coffee was found to have Ochratoxin A-higher amounts were in roasted coffee from Chili.
Mycotoxins are present in coffees regardless of the type of coffee. Typically very small amounts are present however, well below the safety limits.
Is it Possible to Avoid Toxins Completely?
There is a lot more work to be done to completely understand how mold toxins from coffee are affecting our health, our stress and our performance. While we search for ways to keep toxic levels down in our lives, it is equally important to understand toxins are everywhere and we cannot avoid them all completely.. If a blood test was done on every human in the world some level of Ochratoxin A would be present.
Are Coffee Growers Trying to Keep Mycotoxin Levels Low?
Coffee grower are finding and using more efficient methods to keep mycotoxin levels low in coffee. One method is known as wet processing. In the wet process, the fruit covering the seeds/beans is removed before they are dried. Coffee processed by that method is called wet processed or washed coffee. The wet method requires the use of specific equipment and substantial quantities of water. Another method used by many growers is roasting the coffee beans. Roasting the coffee can reduce the amount of Ochratoxin A by seventy to ninety-five percent.
Do You Need to Worry About Drinking Your Morning Coffee?
Just remember toxins are everywhere, in the water and food and the air we breathe. Very small amounts o mycotoxins found in coffee would not have any adverse effect on one’s health. The benefits of drinking coffee still outweigh the negatives. A good number of researcher studies show coffee drinkers hold a lower risk of developing serious diseases. Some reveal coffee drinkers tend to live longer. Without a doubt, though, Ochratoxin A is nowhere near as great a health risk as the huge amount of sugar and unhealthy fats routinely added to coffee.
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