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What's In Your Morning Cup? – by Dr. Anthony Salzarulo

What was the first thing you drank this morning?

If your answer is coffee, I have news for you about conventional coffee. Even if you only consume organic coffee, you might want to know why it’s a healthier choice.

Coffee is one of the most traded products in the world - with over 12 billion pounds of it being produced annually - and as a result, conventional-grown coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated ‘cash crop’ in the world. Research has shown that conventional coffee can contain upwards of 500 added chemicals, some ofwhich are toxic to our bodies. Why are these chemicals used on cash crops to begin with?

Our economic system is driven by mass production in order to meet a demand. Therefore, farming methods have been developed to maximize production. Farmers spray synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides (many of which has been banned in certain nations) on their crops. What results from this is the non-organic conventional coffee that many of us are used to drinking on a daily basis.

Not only does the consumer suffer from drinking conventional non-organic coffee - especially on a daily basis - the farmers who have to live around it do too. They are exposed to high levels of chemicals while spraying and handling their crops. Furthermore, surrounding communities are exposed to a high level of chemicals which has passed through their air and water supply. Overall, this mass-production, chemical method is detrimental to our personal health and to the health of the environment.

What Can I Do?

For those of us who are consummate coffee drinkers, we recommend the following:

1. Drink Organic Coffee - There are no chemicals used in producing organic coffee. These beans are grown with organic fertilizers, like coffee pulp or compost. Additionally, these beans have many healthy antioxidants.

Choosing this option has the additional benefits of emitting less carbon dioxide into the air. All in all, your health, the health of the farmer and our environment benefits from purchasing and consuming organic coffee.

*Side note: To guarantee that the farmers have been paid fairly and treated well through the trading process, choose 'Organic Fair Trade' coffee beans whenever possible.

2. Consider Green Tea - Green tea does contain caffeine however it has about 35% less caffeine than coffee. It is also extremely rich in polyphenol compounds, which are antioxidants that help to protect the cells of our bodies from the damage caused by toxins in our food, water and air.

*Side note: When choosing a green tea, it is also very important that you choose an organic brand..