It’s no secret that we love coffee here at Detour - it also has some surprising health benefits that make us love it even more.
The following is a guest post from our good friend, Derik Singh, who is the master blender for a local superfood company called Brainbow. Derik is a practitioner of Traditional Eastern Medicine and merges traditional healing practices with modern science and technology.
We had the pleasure of chatting with him as we sampled our latest single origin roasts and thought it would be great to share some insights from our conversation. Thanks, Derik!
I work with people looking to make big changes to their lives. Why am I so tired? How do I look and feel my best? How do I stay healthier, longer?
Coffee’s role in our health is a frequent topic. After all, it’s something that forms the foundation of many of our morning rituals.
I’m a strong believer that food is more than just fuel. The right foods can make us feel our best and nourish our minds as well as our bodies. In my opinion, coffee can fill all of those roles. Here are 4 great health benefits of coffee according to both Western medicine and Eastern philosophy.
1. Coffee makes your brain sharp
Let’s start with the obvious benefit: coffee can be great brain food. We drink more than 400 billion cups of coffee each year worldwide, mostly for that extra boost or to stave off sleep.
It’s not just the caffeine in coffee that makes us more productive, though. It turns out that coffee contains unique compounds that can improve memory and cognition regardless of caffeine content. These same compounds are also now believed to protect the brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Coffee is good for your heart
In traditional Chinese medicine, red berries are revered as having a positive effect on the heart, helping with blood flow and making one more compassionate and open. Though coffee isn’t native to ancient China, coffee - and it’s vibrant red cascara, or berry - is used the same way in modern interpretations.
Within Western medicine, coffee’s ability to protect against heart disease is well reported. The “why?” can be explained by coffee’s notable antioxidant profile. These substances can halt free-radicals and prevent inflammation, resulting in a happier heart.
3. Coffee is a powerful detoxifier
In Eastern medicine, bitter ingredients are often selected for their detoxifying properties - helping important organs purge unwanted things. I reach for black coffee as a powerful tool to regulate the liver’s qi (or life energy) and support the gallbladder.
Some studies are showing that your daily cup of hot black can reduce the formation of gallstones. The World Health Organization has also designated coffee as potentially protective against liver cancer.
4. Coffee makes you happy
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring us the greatest joy. A good cup of coffee is one of those things for me.
There’s also a scientific explanation to why coffee makes us happy. When caffeine hits our brains we are rewarded with a rush of dopamine, the chemical associated with a feeling of happiness. Coffee drinking is also being correlated with lower rates of depression. The “why” there is still fuzzy for researchers - it’s a complex beverage!
The bottom line: go ahead and drink your coffee.
Though I sometimes drink my coffee black (especially to appreciate a new blend!), there are so many opportunities to boost the health benefits of coffee. My go-to routine is a blend of tonic herbs and adaptogens - things like cordyceps, lion’s mane, and rhodiola - into my coffee. It makes for a morning tonic that sharpens my focus and sustains me throughout the day.
If you’re interested in trying this routine at home (shameless plug alert!), Brainbow’s signature formula is a perfect place to start. It blends perfectly into coffee - black or with milk!