Welcome to summer, everyone. (I think most people agree it starts after Memorial Day, right?) One of the things I’ve always loved about summer is cold brew coffee. As most of you know, I’ll take coffee anytime year round, but cold brew is its own animal and worth appreciating as such. That said, cold brew needs to be done right to achieve the smoothness and sweetness its known for. Here’s how I create my own cold brew.



  • 2/3 cup medium-coarse ground coffee
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 4 Tbsp. Oat Milk (Thrive Market has a clean and tasty version for those who want to add a splash or two to the final result. Feel free to use regular dairy or another non-dairy milk.)
  • (You’ll also want a couple medium mason jars with lids.)


Grind 3/4 cup of whole bean coffee to a medium-coarse consistency as pictured to make about 2/3 cup ground coffee. (I wouldn’t advise the pre-ground coffee you find in the store, since you’ll have a heck of a time trying to drain it. The result? Coffee that’s likely too strong and muddy instead of smooth.)

Divide the ground coffee between two medium mason jars. Pour room temperature filtered water over the coffee—one cup of water per jar. Screw the lids on tight, and let infuse at room temperature for 12 hours. This is where the magic happens. You could go a little shorter (e.g. 10 hours) if you need it sooner, but I’d be cautious about exceeding 12 hours as I’ve found a lot of coffee gets bitter pretty quickly past that point. Start with 12 hours and experiment from there if you want a more concentrated brew. Some people like to put the jars in the refrigerator for added chilling. This works, but the infusing process will be a little slower.

After 12 hours, open each jar. Filter through a clean dish towel or cheesecloth. I know some folks use a very fine sieve or paper coffee filters for this step. Others like to double filter.

Check for concentration and dilute (to your own personal taste) with cold, filtered water, diluting less if you’re going to add milk or cream or if you’re going to use ice.

Put a few ice cubes in the bottom of two glasses, pour coffee over them. Add milk or cream if that’s your thing.

Store any extra filtered coffee in a clean mason jar in the refrigerator, and use within a few days for freshness.

Thanks for stopping by, everybody. Do you have a recipe you’d like to see the team or I cover? Share your ideas below. Have a great week.


The post Mark’s Cold Brew Coffee appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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I’ve got another awesome success story coming up later this morning, but first…coffee.

As I said on Friday, I take my coffee very seriously. So, no April Fool’s here. Just a great giveaway for any coffee lover out there…

I’m not a breakfast eater as many of you know. As a result, my morning coffee is important to me. It’s a sensory experience I enjoy as well as a ritual that kicks off my day. Sure, the caffeine offers a little pick-me-up, but I make it count nutritionally with a collagen boost, too.

I love Caveman Coffee, and it’s my favorite brand of beans to start with. After grinding those fresh (one of the great sensory pleasures of human existence), I pour them into my French press—the only way I make coffee. Once I add the hot water, I’ll let that sit for a couple minutes. In the meantime, I put one scoop of Vanilla Collagen Fuel in my cup and add just a bit of my prepared coffee—not quite a 1/4 cup. I’ll stir it up (the best way to blend everything in my experience), then pour in the rest of my coffee and enjoy!

Here’s what it all looks like, plus a little commentary on coffee and collagen for a morning fasting routine.

Now For the Giveaway…

The Prize:

Everything you need to make a great cup of Collagen Coffee and then some…

  • Variety Pack of Caveman Coffee (Blacklisted, Mammoth, Mammoth Plus, and Sabretooth)
  • $100 of Primal Kitchen products, including 2 Canisters of Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel
  • Le Creuset Stoneware 27 oz. French Press
  • Primal Kitchen Yeti Tumbler

How To Enter:

Simply enter your email below. Your information won’t go anywhere other than to our newsletter list and Caveman Coffee’s newsletter list, either of which you can opt out of at any time. (If you’re already a subscriber, still enter your email address to enter.)

But, wait! Get a *bonus entry* while you’re at it by following us @marksdailyapple and @cavemancoffeeco on Instagram. Follow both and comment on the Mark’s Daily Apple giveaway post to tell us you’ve entered.


Closes April 8th, 2019, midnight PDT.


Open to those in the U.S. only on this one. Must be 18-years-old+ to enter.

How the Winner Will Be Chosen:

I’ll choose one random winner from those who enter before the deadline. The winner will be contacted on 4/9/19 and will also be announced on social media.

Good luck, everybody. And in the meantime, let me know how YOU take your coffee. (I’m always up for new ideas.) Have a great week.


The post How I Take My Coffee (+ Ultimate Coffee Giveaway) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Biological systems are self-maintaining. They have to be. We don’t have maintenance workers, mechanics, troubleshooters that can “take a look inside” and make sure everything’s running smoothly. Doctors perform a kind of biological maintenance, but even they are working blind from the outside.

No, for life to sustain itself, it has to perform automatic maintenance work on its cells, tissues, organs, and biological processes. One of the most important types of biological maintenance is a process called autophagy.

Autophagy: the word comes from the Greek for “self-eating,” and that’s a very accurate description: Autophagy is when a cell consumes the parts of itself that are damaged or malfunctioning. Lysosomes—members of the innate immune system that also degrade pathogens—degrade the damaged cellular material, making it available for energy and other metabolites.  It’s cellular pruning, and it’s an important part of staving off the worst parts of the aging process.

In study after study, we find that impairment to or reductions of normal levels of autophagy are linked to almost every age-related degenerative disease and malady you can imagine.

  • Cancer: Autophagy can inhibit the establishment of cancer by removing malfunctioning cellular material before it becomes problematic. Once cancer is established, however, autophagy can enhance tumor growth.
  • Diabetes: Impaired autophagy enables the progression from obesity to diabetes via pancreatic beta cell degradation and insulin resistance. Impaired autophagy also accompanies the serious complications related to diabetes, like kidney disease and heart failure.
  • Heart disease: Autophagy plays an important role in all aspects of heart health.
  • Osteoporosis: Both human and animal studies indicate that autophagy dysfunction precedes osteoporosis.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Early stage Alzheimer’s disease is linked to deficits in autophagy.
  • Muscle loss: Autophagy preserves muscle tissue; loss of autophagy begins the process of age-related muscle atrophy.

Okay, so autophagy is rather important. It’s fundamental to health.

But how does autophagy happen?

The way it’s supposed to happen is this:

Humans traditionally and historically lived in a very different food environment. Traditionally and historically, humans were feasters and fasters. While I don’t think our paleolithic ancestors were miserable, wretched, perpetually starving creatures scuttling from one rare meal to the next—the fossil records show incredibly robust remains, with powerful bones and healthy teeth and little sign of nutritional deficits—they also couldn’t stroll down to the local Whole Foods for a cart full of ingredients. Going without food from time to time was a fundamental aspect of human ancestral life.

They worked for their food. I don’t mean “sat in a cubicle to get a paycheck to spend on groceries.” I mean they expended calories to obtain food. They hunted—and sometimes came back empty handed. They dug and climbed and rooted around and gathered. They walked, ran, stalked, jumped, lifted. Movement was a necessity.

In short, they experienced energy deficits on a regular basis. And energy deficits, particularly sustained energy deficits, are the primary triggers for autophagy. Without energy deficits, you remain in fed mode and never quite hit the fasted mode required for autophagy.

Now compare that ancestral food environment to the modern food environment:

Almost no one goes hungry. Food is cheap and plentiful, with the tastiest and most calorie-rich stuff tending to be the cheapest and most widely available.

Few people have to physically work for their food. We drive to the store and walk a couple hundred steps, hand over some money, and—BOOM—obtain thirty thousand calories, just like that. Or someone comes to our house and delivers the food directly.

We eat all the time. Unless you set out to do it, chances are you’ll be grazing, snacking, and nibbling throughout the day. We’re in a perpetually fed state.

The average person in a modern society eating a modern industrial diet rarely goes long enough without eating something to trigger autophagy. Nor are they expending enough energy to create an energy deficit from the other end—the output. It’s understandable. If our ancestors were thrust into our current situation, many would fall all over themselves to take advantage of the modern food environment. But that doesn’t make it desirable, or good for you. It just means that figuring out how to trigger autophagy becomes that much more vital for modern humans.

Here are 7 ways to induce autophagy with regular lifestyle choices.

1) Fast

There’s no better way to quickly and reliably induce a large energy deficit than not eating anything at all. There are no definitive studies identifying “optimal” fasting guidelines for autophagy in humans. Longer fasts probably allow deeper levels of autophagy, but shorter fasts are no slouch.

2) Get Keto-Adapted

When you’re keto- and fat-adapted, it takes you less time to hit serious autophagy upon commencing a fast. You’re already halfway there.

3) Train Regularly

With exercise-related autophagy, the biggest effects are seen with lifelong training, not acute. In mice, for example, the mice who are subjected to lifelong exercise see the most autophagy-related benefits. In people, those who have played soccer (football) for their entire lives have far more autophagy-related markers of gene activity than people of the same age who have not trained their whole lives.

4) Train Hard

In studies of acute exercise-induced autophagy, the intensity of the exercise is the biggest predictor of autophagy—even more than whether the athletes are in the fed or fasted state.

5) Drink Coffee

At least in mice, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee induce autophagy in the liver, muscle tissue, and heart. This effect persists even when the coffee is given alongside ad libitum food. These mice didn’t have to fast for the coffee to induce autophagy.

Certain nutrients can trigger autophagy, too….

6) Eat Turmeric

Curcumin, the primary phytonutrient in turmeric, is especially effective at inducing autophagy in the mitochondria (mitophagy).

7) Consume Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The anticancer potential of its main antioxidant, oleuropein, likely occurs via autophagy.

Disclaimer: The autophagy/nutrient literature is anything but definitive. Most studies take place in test tube settings, not living humans. Eating some turmeric probably won’t flip a switch and trigger autophagy right away, but it won’t hurt.

Autophagy is a long game.

This can’t be underscored enough: Autophagy is a lifelong pursuit attained by regular doses of exercise and not overeating every time you sit down to a meal. Staying so ketotic your pee tests look like a Prince album cover, doing epic 7-day fasts every month, fasting every other day, making sure you end every day with fully depleted liver glycogen—while these strategies might be “effective,” obsessing over their measures to hit some “optimal” level of constant autophagy isn’t the point and is likely to activate or trigger neurotic behavior.

Besides, we don’t know what “optimal autophagy” looks like. Autophagy isn’t easy to measure in live humans. You can’t order an “autophagy test” from your doc. We don’t even know if more autophagy is necessarily better. There’s the fact that unchecked autophagy can actually increase existing cancer in some cases. There’s the fact that too much autophagy in the wrong place might be bad. We just don’t know very much. Autophagy is important. It’s good to have some happening. That’s what we have to go on.

Putting These Tips Into Practice

Autophagy happens largely when you just live a healthy lifestyle. Get some exercise and daily activity. Go hard every now and then. Sleep deeply. Recover well. Don’t eat carbohydrates you don’t need and haven’t earned (and I don’t just mean “earned through glycogen depleting-exercise”). Reach ketosis sometimes. Don’t eat more food than you need. Drink coffee, even decaf.

All those caveats aside, I see the utility in doing a big “autophagy session” a few times a year. Here’s how mine looks:

  1. Do a big training session incorporating strength training and sprints. Lots of intense bursts. This will trigger autophagy.
  2. Fast for two or three days. This will push autophagy even further.
  3. Stay busy throughout the fast. Take as many walks as possible. This will really ramp up the fat burning and get you quickly into ketosis, another autophagy trigger.
  4. Drink coffee throughout the fast. Coffee is a nice boost to autophagy. Decaf is fine.

I know people are often skeptical of using “Grok logic,” but it’s likely that most human ancestors experienced similar “perfect storms” of deprivation-induced autophagy on occasion throughout the year. You track an animal for a couple days and come up short, or it takes that long to make the kill. You nibble on various stimulants plucked from the land along the way. You walk a ton and sprint some, then lift heavy. And finally, maybe, you get to eat.

If you find yourself aging well, you’re on the right track. If you’re not progressing from obesity to diabetes, you’re good to go. If you’re maintaining and even building your muscle despite qualifying for the blue plate special, you’ve probably dipping into the autophagy pathway. If you’re thinking clearly, I wouldn’t worry. Obviously, we can’t really see what’s happening on the inside. But if everything you can verify is going well, keep it up.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any more questions about autophagy, leave them down below and I’ll try to get to all of them in future posts.

Thanks for reading!



Yang ZJ, Chee CE, Huang S, Sinicrope FA. The role of autophagy in cancer: therapeutic implications. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011;10(9):1533-41.

Barlow AD, Thomas DC. Autophagy in diabetes: ?-cell dysfunction, insulin resistance, and complications. DNA Cell Biol. 2015;34(4):252-60.

Sasaki Y, Ikeda Y, Iwabayashi M, Akasaki Y, Ohishi M. The Impact of Autophagy on Cardiovascular Senescence and Diseases. Int Heart J. 2017;58(5):666-673.

Florencio-silva R, Sasso GR, Simões MJ, et al. Osteoporosis and autophagy: What is the relationship?. Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2017;63(2):173-179.

Li Q, Liu Y, Sun M. Autophagy and Alzheimer’s Disease. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2017;37(3):377-388.

Jiao J, Demontis F. Skeletal muscle autophagy and its role in sarcopenia and organismal aging. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2017;34:1-6.

Schwalm C, Jamart C, Benoit N, et al. Activation of autophagy in human skeletal muscle is dependent on exercise intensity and AMPK activation. FASEB J. 2015;29(8):3515-26.

De oliveira MR, Jardim FR, Setzer WN, Nabavi SM, Nabavi SF. Curcumin, mitochondrial biogenesis, and mitophagy: Exploring recent data and indicating future needs. Biotechnol Adv. 2016;34(5):813-826.

Przychodzen P, Wyszkowska R, Gorzynik-debicka M, Kostrzewa T, Kuban-jankowska A, Gorska-ponikowska M. Anticancer Potential of Oleuropein, the Polyphenol of Olive Oil, With 2-Methoxyestradiol, Separately or in Combination, in Human Osteosarcoma Cells. Anticancer Res. 2019;39(3):1243-1251.

The post The Definitive Guide To Autophagy (and 7 Ways To Induce It) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Oh, coffee. The sweet nectar of life. The java that fuels our souls. The best part of waking up. via GIPHY I mean, have you seen more memes or funny t-shirts dedicated to any other beverage? (Other than beer — maybe.) via GIPHY And while coffee does have its benefits, it also has its downsides. In an attempt to have a better chance at making this a reality (which, ahem, worked extra well for me), I gave up my beloved cup of Joe a few months ago. And, even though it was a little challenging at first, I found that…

The post How to Give Up Coffee Without Going Bonkers appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

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Get ready for some caffeination and motivation in this ep with ultra runner and coffee entrepreneur Jax Mariash. Because, wow, does this woman have an amazing amount of energy and wisdom to spare! Jax is a professional ultra runner who was the first woman in the world to compete in the 4 Deserts race series Grand Slam Plus. In addition to that, she won all of the 4 Deserts races in one fiscal year. Yup — she is a certified badass, and in this episode, she shares her favorite adventures including the time she ran on sand so hot that her…

The post Podcast Ep 101: Ultra Runner Entrepreneur Jax Mariash appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

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Today’s post is served up by the folks at PaleoHacks.com. Thanks to their team for the awesome recipe ideas. Hope you all enjoy!

Get ready to drink your way to health with this nutritious Protein Shake Roundup!

Smoothies and shakes can get a bad rap for spiking your blood sugar—especially ones with artificial sweeteners. But with the addition of protein from a healthy source—like collagen peptides or protein powderssmoothies and shakes can make a great snack or meal replacement.

These guilt-free smoothies and shakes are made only with wholesome ingredients and natural sweeteners—no dairy or processed sugars here! You’ll be surprised at how some of these healthy shakes and smoothies drink just like dessert.

Keep this list handy to help you find top-notch recipes that’ll energize you throughout the day!

#1 Amazing Paleo | Dark Chocolate Smoothie with Collagen Peptides
Yes, even chocolate shakes can be healthy! Banana, cacao powder, nut butter, coconut milk, honey and vanilla combine with two scoops of collagen peptides for one decadently-rich smoothie.

#2 Further Food | Vanilla Chai Collagen Protein Smoothie
Skip the chai tea latte and opt for this blended protein smoothie. It’s spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves!

#3 KetoDiet Blog | Creamy Keto Cinnamon Smoothie
When it comes to the protein in this creamy smoothie, you’ve got options! Choose from your favorite protein powder or go for a few scoops of collagen, then blend up with coconut milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, and chia seeds for even more protein.


#4 Autoimmune Wellness | Collagen-Berry Green Smoothie
This protein-packed smoothie is the perfect on-the-go meal for those following the autoimmune protocol. It helps balance blood sugar by blending collagen with healthy fat!

#5 Healing Family Eats | Maple Pumpkin Collagen Shake
Channel those fall vibes with this protein shake packed with pumpkin, banana, fresh oranges and cinnamon.

#6 Butter Nutrition | Real Food Protein Shake
This sweet strawberry shake nixes over-processed protein powders in favor of simple sources like collagen and pastured-raised egg yolks.

#7 Cook Eat Paleo | Espresso Protein Shake
This high-protein shake is almost like breakfast in a glass. Espresso or strong coffee blends up with cashew milk, bananas and ice for a creamy treat better than anything you can find at the Starbucks drive-thru.

#8 Wicked Spatula | Brownie Batter Protein Shake
This protein shake is like eating brownie batter off a spoon, but way healthier. Dark cocoa powder adds rich chocolatey flavor while collagen peptides boost its nutritional value.

#9 It’s a Mom’s World | Almond Joy Protein Shake
Get your candy fix with this nourishing chocolate, almond, and coconut-packed protein shake. It’s full of healthy fats to give you some serious staying power.

#10 PaleoHacks | Caramel Protein Smoothie
Dates substitute for rich caramel in this sweet protein smoothie. If you’re looking for a bigger energy boost, try adding maca powder to the mix.

#11 Love and Zest | Coconut Cream Pie Protein Shake
Dessert for breakfast? Yes, please! This shake is dense with coconutty flavor, while protein powder rounds everything out for the perfect meal replacement.

#12 The Kitchen Prep | Samoa Cookie Protein Shake
If you’re a cookie fiend, this protein shake is for you. It’s made with coconut flakes, Paleo caramel, and dairy-free chocolate chips to remind you of your favorite Girl Scout treat!

#13 Appetite for Energy | Raspberry Keto Protein Shake
Raspberries make for a sweet and tangy shake that mixes perfectly with coconut cream, but feel free to use any combination of berries you like!

#14 Low Carb Alpha | Almond Vanilla Protein Shake
This almond vanilla shake is full of staple pantry ingredients, so it’s extra easy to whip up on a dime.

#15 Against All Grain | Chocolate Paleo Protein Shake
Cashew milk makes for an ultra-creamy base to this simple and nourishing recipe chocolate protein shake.

Thanks again to PaleoHacks for their post today. Do you have favorite smoothie recipes? Share them below, and have a great week, everyone.


The post Protein Shake Roundup: 15 Keto and Paleo Recipes appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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I’ve always found the expression “How do you take your coffee?” to be odd. Like, why am I “taking” coffee? Because I love coffee. And “taking” it seems disrespectful. Like, shouldn’t I just politely ask if I can add cream to it? Or leave it be in peace? via GIPHY Anywho. No matter your thoughts on the semantics of “taking your coffee,” today I’d like to share with you three new, healthy (and tasty!) ways to enjoy your cold brew coffee. With respect, of course. 1. Black, Cold and Freaking Delicious: Wandering Bear Cold Brew Straight Black I gotta tell you:…

The post 3 Healthy Ways to Take Your Cold Brew Coffee appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

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Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week the health value of friendship, the trouble with the carbohydrate-insulin model, and the sad state of the EPA.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Dear_Mark_Inline_PhotoFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions about coffee and one about vegan vitamins. First, was I wrong about Aeropress? Second, what’s my take on CA’s move to put a cancer warning on coffee? Third, is aluminum in coffee makers a problem? Fourth, how does instant coffee stack up? Fifth, how can a person figure out if mold toxins in coffee beans are causing “caffeine jitters”? And finally, are there any other vitamins I’d add to my recommendations for vegan keto dieters?

Let’s go:

Greg Armstrong wrote:

I did notice one small error in the filtered/unfiltered categories above. You listed Aeropress in the unfiltered category, but it uses a paper filter in the cap.

Whoops, you’re right. My main exposure to Aeropress has always been a friend who carries one around with him at all times to whip out a good cup of coffee whenever needed. Real coffee fanatic. He had a metal filter, and I figured they were standard.

Steve wondered:

Great read! I’m curious to know your thoughts on California’s plan to require a cancer warning on coffee. I’m not worried about it, but you likely know more than me.

I covered it a few weeks ago. Short answer: keep not worrying.

Elenor wrote:

Hey Mark,
You didn’t discuss the (actual/physical) coffee makers in relation to health. There’s a fellow on YT whose mother has Alzheimer’s and he (an engineer) began studying the coffee he made for her each day. The aluminum piping IN the maker, over time, puts more and more aluminum into the coffee… He tested a whole bunch of coffee makers (his, his mom’s, some neighbors’ and some he bought). They all put a LARGE amount of aluminum in the coffee! So he studied up some more, bought a bunch of makers (and tested the few he found in his ‘local population’) that are made with stainless steel piping — and they (obviously) did NOT put alum. into the coffee.

He (shows and) lists the coffee makers that use SS piping; I bought the Krups Moka Pot, which makes really good coffee (steams the water; so it’s half-way to espresso?)

Ah, here he is (and he does NOT sell coffee makers or coffee; he does sell his book about making what he calls “silicad”? That’s sodium silicate water that he says selectively binds and pulls the aluminum out of the body. He also provides some detailed answers in the comments (1, 2).

Haven’t ordered his book yet. Don’t know if I will — but replacing my old Cuisinart with its aluminum piping was as easy to decide on as replacing my aluminum cooking pots was!

That’s a really good point I hadn’t considered. Independent research (not from the fellow you describe) confirms that aluminum leaches readily into hot water, and that coffee makers specifically leach aluminum into the finished brew:

  • Boiling tap water in aluminum pans increased the aluminum content of the water to 17 mg per liter.
  • Making coffee in new percolators produced an aluminum content of 0.8-1.4 mg per liter; older percolators gave off less aluminum.

The World Health Organization recommends against consuming water with aluminum levels exceeding 0.2 mg per liter. This seems like a problem.

However, percolators don’t have pipes. The makers you described have aluminum pipes. When water flows through an aluminum pipe versus boiled in a large aluminum pot, more of it’s exposed to the pipe material and if the water’s hot, it’s going to leach way more aluminum. Most people are using conventional coffee makers with piping, not percolators.

Diamondheart asked:

What about instant? I usually drink Mt Hagen Organic Fair Trade instant. Pretty good taste, low acid, and no mess.

I sometimes keep that one around the house. It’s quite good if you add cream, I agree.

Instant coffee in general seems to be a good substitute for fresh brewed, healthwise.

It’s a strong source of antioxidant compounds, just like fresh coffee—or maybe even more so. In simulated intestinal conditions, those compounds are well-absorbed.

Some studies find links between instant coffee consumption and metabolic syndrome, but there’s a huge confounding variable: most people drink instant coffee as a “mix” with powdered creamer (not cream) and sugar added.

Saltybones asked:

Dave Asprey from Bulletproof warns about Mycotoxins forming during the processing of coffee beans, and being the source of the ‘jitters’ as opposed to the caffeine content. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

I haven’t been able to find any good research one way or the other. What you could do to test it out is take a straight caffeine pill and compare that to a cup of coffee.

Matthew Zastrow asked:

What about Vit D, K2, and A?

Yes, great additions.

You need vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and vitamin A in the form of retinol.

Vitamin D3: because few of us spend enough time in the midday sun to make our own, yet we all need it to maintain hormonal health and immune function and build and keep strong bones. The best food sources of vitamin D reside in the animal kingdom. If you’re abstaining from wild salmon, pastured pork, pastured eggs, you’re not eating enough. You could eat sunbathing mushrooms to get your vitamin D, though that’s in the form of vitamin D2 and arguably not as effective as D3.

Here’s a good vegan D3 supplement.

Vitamin K2: because we all want calcium to go where it belongs. In the absence of vitamin K2, calcium tends to end up in the wrong spots, like our arteries. In the presence of vitamin K2, calcium tends to end up in the right places, like our bones and teeth. Fortunately for vegans, the best source of vitamin K2 is natto—a fermented soybean. Unfortunately for vegans on a keto diet, natto is fairly high in carbohydrates, though you could probably squeeze in a serving a day and remain under your carb allotment.

Here’s a good one containing the animal form of vitamin K2. Pair that with some natto every once in awhile for the plant form and you’re covered.

Vitamin A (or zinc): because we’re not all good at converting beta-carotene into retinol. Given that synthetic retinol may be problematic, at least in the context of low vitamin D levels, and you can’t take good natural sources like cod liver oil, I’d urge you to make sure you’re maximizing your ability to convert beta-carotene (from plants) into retinol (the kind of vitamin A that animals like you use). That means eating enough fat with your vegetables to enhance absorption (not a problem, seeing that you’re keto) and obtaining enough zinc from food or supplements to enable proper conversion.

This is a good zinc.

That’s it for today, folks. Take care and be sure to chime in down below with your own input!

The post Dear Mark: More Coffee Questions (plus a Vegan Vitamin Addition) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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inline coffee brewingCoffee is a perpetual topic of interest, and for good reason: Almost everyone drinks it, almost everyone is passionate about it, and it’s pretty darn good for you. A recent post covered whether coffee breaks a fast or not. Before that, I told you how to make your coffee healthier. And on a regular basis, I cover something coffee-related in the weekly Dear Mark. One aspect of coffee I’ve never explored, however, is how coffee preparation and processing affects its health effects.

What’s healthier—filtered or unfiltered? Dark roast or light roast? Pre-ground or whole bean? French press or drip? Let’s get to it.

Filtered vs Unfiltered

Filtered coffee is coffee that runs through a paper filter, which catches most of the oils. Unfiltered coffee is coffee that doesn’t go through a paper filter; either it’s completely unfiltered (grounds directly in water) or it runs through a metal filter, which allows the oils to pass through. Unfiltered coffee is often referred to in the scientific literature as “boiled coffee.”

Filtered coffee includes drip, pour-over (unless you use a permanent filter that allows passage of the oils), and any method in which the coffee passes through a paper filter.

Unfiltered/boiled coffee brewing methods include French press, Moka pot/percolator, Aeropress, espresso.

Cold brew coffee can be either filtered or unfiltered, depending on what kind of filter you use to strain the final product.

Conventional wisdom is scared of those oils because they contain two lipid compounds  called cafestol (great name for a coffee shop) and kahweol, high doses of which elevate cholesterol and suppress LDL clearance from animal models. That does sound bad; suppressed LDL clearance means LDL particles hang around longer in the blood to be oxidized and form atherosclerotic lesions. Do the animal mdoels transfer over to humans?

Maybe not. While 73 mg of purified cafestol a day for six weeks can increase cholesterol by a worrisome 66 mg/dL, the average cup of French press coffee contains between 3-6 mg; 73 mg isn’t a normal physiological dose. In one study, boiled coffee consumption was associated with a more modest 8% cholesterol increase in men and a 10% increase in women. That’s cholesterol, not LDL. Total. Besides, high fitness levels abolished the link in men, and boiled coffee was also linked to lower triglycerides in both sexes.

Or maybe. Another study found a modest association between high intakes of boiled coffee and non-fatal heart attacks. Then again, a similar (but smaller) association also existed with filtered coffee. Tough to say.

Cafestol and kahweol have beneficial effects, too. For instance, cafestol kills leukemia cells and kidney cancer cells. In mice, cafestol exerts anti-diabetic effects. Kahweol inhibits fat accumulation by activating AMPK (the same pathway triggered by fasting, exercise, and ketosis). Both compounds have anti-angiogenic effects.

Both boiled and filtered coffee reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but only boiled coffee confers a lower risk of prostate cancerLiver enzyme levels drop when you consume boiled coffee, and when you inject rats with a known liver toxin, boiled coffee protects them against the expected rise in liver enzymes. Most evidence suggests that coffee, whether boiled or filtered, is protective against liver cancer, liver disease, and mortality from chronic liver disease.

If you want the unfiltered coffee with the most cafestol and kahwehol, brew a light roast using a French press or the boiling method. If you want the unfiltered coffee with the least cafestol and kahwehol, brew a dark roast using a Moka pot or use the Turkish method. If you want the least of all, use a paper filter.

If you’re a heavy consumer of unfiltered coffee and you worry about the cholesterol issue, get it tested. Go for a full lipid panel, one that includes LDL particle number.

Light vs Dark Roast

Coffee beans start out green and fairly uninteresting. It’s the roasting that brings out the flavors. The darker the roast, the longer it spends in the roaster.

Light roast advantages include less oil oxidation. The lighter the roast and the fresher the coffee, the lower the oil oxidation. Keeping it in whole bean form also increases the resistance, while grinding it prematurely will oxidize the oil and mar the taste.

Light roasts tend to have more caffeine, as the roasting process degrades caffeine. But caffeine content also depends on the bean; some have more than others.

Both are good, health-wise. Some studies suggest that dark roast has a better effect than light roast on antioxidant capacity in those who drink it. Light roasts tend to be higher in chlorogenic acids, which have been shown to improve subjective mood and ability to focus—even when the coffee is decaf. Medium roasts also have antioxidant effects.

They’re all good. Coffee just works.

Whole Bean or Pre-Ground?

Depends. I like whole bean, because keeping it intact until you’re ready to brew increases the oxidative resistance (more surface area means more oxidation), retains the aroma and flavor, and—this is seemingly minor but still important to me—I like the sound of grinding beans. The sound is a huge part of the ritual of coffee preparation. It’s the same reason instant coffee just isn’t the same as whole bean coffee. It’s almost too easy.

Healthwise, I imagine pre-ground beans are fine. Despite a huge number of people buying and drinking pre-ground coffee, coffee is consistently associated with health benefits in observational studies. If you believe the observational studies are pointing toward causality, ground coffee is good for you. And if you have the opposite relationship to grinding beans, and having whole coffee beans makes it less likely that you’ll drink coffee, go with the ground. It’s fine.

Water Quality

The quality of the water matters. Mineral content is the primary concern. A 2014 study sought to determine the optimal “hardness” for coffee water and found that the specific minerals causing the hardness made a big difference.

You don’t want too much bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is bad for coffee flavor.

Sodium was also bad for coffee flavor.

You want some magnesium. Magnesium is good for coffee flavor because it enhances the dissolution of coffee flavor from beans into the water. Since coffee flavor comes from the coffee compounds, and the coffee compounds are responsible for many of the beneficial health effects, better coffee is also probably healthier coffee.

I find adding a few dashes of Trace Minerals to my coffee brewing water helps the flavor.

My Favorite Way To Make Coffee

When you include coffee:water ratios, water quality, brew method, filter choice, ground size, and all the other variables, there are millions of ways to make coffee. I won’t get into all of them. I’m actually not a big coffee snob, although I do know a good cup when I taste it. I’ll just give my basic method.

  • French press, usually with a dark roast (although I’ll sometimes do medium, dark or light if I’m feeling wild). I’m really liking Caveman Coffee’s Blacklisted.
  • Grind size is a bit finer than most people recommend for French pressing. I use a blade grinder, which would get me excommunicated from most coffee geek circles, so my grind is probably less uniform than those using a burr grinder. Eh, tastes good to me.
  • 1:12 coffee:water ratio.
  • Spring or filtered water, sometimes with a dash of Trace Minerals. Boil it, then turn off the heat and wait ten seconds.
  • Add it to the grounds, stir until it froths, cover, and press after 4 minutes.

Sometimes I make cold brew coffee concentrate:

  • 12 ounces of light roast, something fancy and floral and fruity and acidic from a local 3rd wave coffee shop.
  • Grind medium-fine.
  • Mix with 60 ounces of cold spring water with a dash of Trace Minerals in a large glass jar.
  • Stir to combine, then let sit for at least 12 hours at room temperature. I’ve also experimented with letting it brew in the sun. That works quicker, but I prefer the taste of room temperature brewed cold brew.
  • Run it through a French press, store in glass bottle in the fridge. Drink it straight up, like little cold espresso shots, or with a dash of heavy cream.

That’s it for today, folks. I think I’ll go make another cup.

How do you make coffee? Tell me all about it down below.


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