Bulletproof Coffee

5 Mar

bulletproof coffe

Prior to six months ago, I had only sipped on coffee once. The taste was bitter, and I’d heard all about the negative health consequences that came along with drinking coffee. Coffee supposedly stunted children’s growth, was addicting, and increased the likelihood of contracting several diseases. David Asprey of BulletproofExec.com inspired me to give the black drink another chance, and I am so glad that I did.

It turns out that like many other health related topics, conventional wisdom is wrong about coffee. Coffee can actually be very beneficial for human health, and pairs well with super foods coconut oil and grass fed butter to form one of the healthiest drinks around: Bulletproof Coffee.There are quite a few observational studies showing coffee to be a detriment to health. These epidemiological studies are the reason coffee has a bad name among mainstream health experts. However, there are also many observational studies showing coffee to have a very positive impact on health. The likely reason for the discrepancy? The studies do not control for the type and quality of coffee used.

The appropriate conclusion to reach then is that poor quality coffee has negative health effects and high quality coffee has positive health effects. This isn’t a completely new concept, as many are familiar with the idea that farmed fish can be harmful to health while wild caught fish are extremely healthy. Even more well-known is the idea that eating hormone and nitrate laden cows causes a plethora of problems while grass fed beef is considered by many to be one of the healthiest foods in existence.

Finding high quality coffee can be confusing, although there are a few guidelines to follow. Getting your beans single origin, high altitude, wet processed, and roasted in small batches are the best ways to make sure your coffee will help you rather than hurt you!

The epidemiological data in favor of high quality coffee is quite impressive. Coffee drinkers are significantly less likely to become diabetic, which is related to a correlation between coffee and increased insulin sensitivity. Men who drink coffee have shown a decreased likelihood of developing prostate cancer, and an even higher likelihood of surviving if they do get prostate cancer. In fact, one study showed that those who drank boiled coffee were less likely to suffer from any type of cancer. Female coffee drinkers have a better long term memory and are less likely to be depressed, develop breast cancer, and suffer a stroke. The list goes on and on, but I am more interested in scientific experiments, because as we all know, association is very different than causation.

One experiment showed that caffeine, one of coffee’s most famous components, increased short term memory. Another showed that coffee had a similar positive effect on heart rate as Chi Gong breathing and meditation exercises. These two experiments bolster the average Joe’s anecdotal evidence suggesting coffee provides a potent boost for the brain. On that note, those that intend to drink coffee before an exam or interview would be wise to test out the effects coffee has on them before the actual event, as not all folks react the same to different levels of caffeine!

Mental performance is not the only improvement coffee provides. A cup of Joe does physical performance some good as well. Experiments have shown that coffee increases aerobic and anaerobic performance. This means that coffee can lower your marathon time as well as increase your deadlift one rep max. Again, the effects of specific doses should be tested before coffee is used pre-game.

Coffee is very high in several antioxidants and polyphenols, including the antioxidant caffeine, which decreases the chance of developing Alzheimer’s. The level of antioxidants in coffee is so that high that for the average diet of United States citizens (which is admittedly extremely poor), coffee is the main source of antioxidants.

On many fronts, coffee appears to aid in a healthy body composition. Coffee has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which is key, as insulin is our body’s main fat storage hormone. Probably one of the biggest benefits of drinking coffee is the increase in metabolism and fat mobilization and oxidation, which are all helpful when looking to stay or become lean.

People all over the world have been enjoying coffee with fantastic results for hundreds of years. Millions of positive anecdotal experiences say a lot about the black stuff, but the experiments and studies showing coffee to be healthy may be even more telling. Even with all of the health benefits coffee can claim, it is only a part of what makes Bulletproof Coffee such a potent drink.

Coconut oil is the second ingredient in Bulletproof Coffee. Traditionally, coconut oil has gotten a bad rap for its high fat content. However, this bad reputation makes very little sense for a few reasons. First, not all fats are created equal. This can be seen with other micronutrients as well- the carbs in a Twinkie and the carbs in a sweet potato certainly will not impact one’s health equally. Second, the communities who consume coconut as the largest portions of their diets such as the South Pacific Islanders and Polynesians have strong health markers. While neither of those reasons prove that coconut oil is healthy, they make us question the notion that coconut oil is unhealthy because it contains a large amount of fat.Coconut oil actually improves heart health, boosts thyroid performance, increases metabolism, and strengthens the immune system. Additionally, coconut oil has been known to decrease body fat and promote a healthy body composition.

One reason coconut oil helps decrease body fat is because of its high medium chain triglyceride (MCT) levels. MCTs are digested very easily by the body, and are an excellent source of quick energy. The performance enhancing energy boost is similar to that of carbohydrate consumption, only with MCTs there is no insulin surge and no crash later. MCTs also enable to the body to burn its own fat stores, which can lead to a lower body fat percentage and more constant energy levels.

In addition to being high in MCTs, coconut oil also contains vast amounts of lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted by the body into monolaurin, which fights harmful viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. The combination of lauric acid and MCTs make coconut oil synergistic with coffee, both keeping the body disease free, lean, and physically capable.

Last but not least, grass fed butter rounds out the Bulletproof Coffee recipe. Grain fed butter can be used, but it is inferior to its grass fed brethren.Grass fed butter has three to five times higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) levels than grain fed butter. CLA has been associated with increased heart health, reduction in tumor growth, decreased belly fat, and more fat loss in overweight individuals. The immune system also gets a boost from CLA, and muscle building is helped as well. Needless to say, the high CLA levels in grass fed butter will help the body function optimally.

Vitamin levels are also higher in grass fed butter. This makes sense, as vegetation in pastures have more vitamins than the corn that grain fed cows eat. The main vitamins which are more present in grass fed butter than grain fed butter are vitamin A and vitamin K2, which are both essential to keep the body healthy.

Grass fed butter contains an omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of one. Grain fed butter has a ratio that is tilted heavily towards omega 6 fatty acids. Again, this makes sense based off of what the cows eat. Feeding our cows grain just exacerbates our society’s problem of eating too much grain by further distorting our omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Eating grass fed butter actually helps our predicament by providing our body with an equal amount of omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats.

That is not to say grain fed butter is unhealthy. Most any butter is still a solid source of healthy fats, and a good addition to many meals. But when we attempting to optimize performance, grass fed butter wins by a significant margin.

Another reason grass fed butter is an important addition to Bulletproof Coffee is the arichidonic acid levels and ability to provide quick energy. Arichidonic acid helps the brain function, further boosting Bulletproof Coffee’s ability to give you a mental edge. Butter is made up of short chain triglycerides and our familiar medium chain triglycerides, neither of which are stored in adipose tissue, making butter another great source of immediate and long term energy.

Bulletproof coffee is a great drink that can be consumed for a variety of purposes. There is potential for Bulletproof Coffee to be helpful before a test or interview because its brain enhancing properties. There is also potential for Bulletproof Coffee to be helpful before an athletic competition because of the stabile short and long term energy sources and coffee’s ergogenic effects. Personally I enjoy a cup of Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast, signaling my body to use its own fat stores for energy, and giving me a physical and mental boost for the rest of the day.

Asprey, David. “Coffee: 5 Reasons You Can Perform Better & 10 Ways to Live Longer.” The Bulletproof Executive. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. <http://www.bulletproofexec.com/coffee-5-reasons-you-can-perform-better-10-ways-to-live-longer/&gt;.
Huget, Jennifer LaRue. “Coffee Isn’t Always Bad for You.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2011. Web. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/coffee-isnt-always-bad-for-you/2011/11/09/gIQA0ozSON_story.html&gt;.
Gates, Donna. “The 20 Health Benefits of Real Butter.” Body Ecology. N.p., 5 July 2007. Web. <http://bodyecology.com/articles/benefits_of_real_butter.php&gt;.
Sisson, Mark. “Is All Butter Created Equal?” Marks Daily Apple. N.p., 3 Aug. 2010. Web. <http://www.marksdailyapple.com/grass-fed-butter/&gt;.
Mercola, Joseph, Dr. “Coconut Oil Benefits: When Fat Is Good For You.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/coconut-oil-benefits_b_821453.html&gt;.


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