Friday, March 6, 2015

Does Your Coffee Contain Mycotoxins?

Coffee Cup by Jonah Engler

As most people already know, there are a lot of health benefits that come with drinking coffee. It has been shown over time these individuals live longer and have a lower chance of developing diseases. However, there is also talk that coffee contains harmful chemicals called mycotoxins.


For those that don't know, mycotoxins are the product of molds that are grown in edible crops such as grains and of course coffee beans. Unfortunately, when too much of these mycrotoxins are ingested, they become poisonous. It's these toxins that ultimately cause chronic health issues. Not all mycrotoxins are bad, though. Some have very strong biological activity and can be used to create pharmaceutical drugs like Penicillin and Ergotamine.

When it comes to coffee plants, the mycotoxins found there are referred to as Aflatoxin B1 and Ochratoxin A. With Aflatoxin B1, this toxin is known as a carcinogen and has been shown to leave consumers with all kinds of harmful effects. Ochratoxin A is less well known than Aflatoxin B1 but it has been seen to be a weak carcinogen that can cause all types of damage to the brain and kidneys. 

While there are definitely dangerous effects that come from these mycotoxins, the amount that is being put in the coffee is what makes the difference. It's how much the consumer is ingesting that makes it poisonous. Remember, mycotoxin levels are always looked at closely and regulated. That means when an individual drinks coffee, they are not being overloaded with these harmful chemicals.
Yes, there are mycotoxins in coffee, but growers take steps to make sure that the content is low. For starters, some coffee growers use a process called wet processing. This eliminates a lot of the molds and mycotoxins in the coffee beans. Besides this, growers tend to roast the beans since that also kills the molds that form the mycotoxins. Typically, though, decaf coffee has higher levels of mycotoxins in them. That's because caffeine stops molds from growing and developing. Similar to this, instant coffee also contains more mycotoxins than ground coffee does. However, even with that being said, the levels of mycotoxins are still too low to really pose any threat.

In the end, it is clear that coffee does contain mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are insignificant, though, to the coffee drinker because the amount that's actually ingested is so little that it doesn't cause any harmful side effects.

Jonah Engler is a successful entrepreneur, investor, franchise owner and coffee lover who hails from New York City. 

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