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Coffee & Health

What is Acrylamide in Coffee?

Apart from perking you up every morning, drinking the right amount of coffee has other benefits related to your health. Coffee helps lower the risk of diseases such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Certain cancer types.

This is made possible by the presence of the high levels of antioxidants in the coffee. However, coffee contains a chemical substance known as acrylamide that is a cause of cancer.

acrylamide in coffee.

The topics covered by this article include:

  1. Introduction to acrylamide.
  2. Types of coffee that contain acrylamide.
  3. Amount of acrylamide in the coffee.
  4. The link between coffee, acrylamide, and cancer.
  5. How to reduce acrylamide consumption.

Let’s begin by knowing what acrylamide is.

Acrylamide is a white and odorless chemical substance that forms during roasting, baking, and frying foods. This substance forms from heating natural products available in some foods using high temperatures. The natural products in foods are sugars and amino acids. Foods that contain acrylamide include:

  • French fries
  • Potato chips
  • Baked foods
  • Canned black olives
  • Cereals
  • Prune juice

The chemical is available in products like water treatment products, plastics, cosmetics, dyes, textiles, cigarette smoke, and grouts.

Factors That Determine Acrylamide Level in Foods

The factors that determine the concentration levels of acrylamide in foods include:

  • Temperature level
  • Cooking time
  • Cooking method

Is the Chemical Substance Harmful?

High amounts of Acrylamide are harmful to the nervous system. It causes damage to the nerves and disorders to the nervous system. This risk is mainly to people who get involved in industrial activities where acrylamide is usually in use. High amounts of acrylamide are a known cancer cause to animals. The amounts given to animals are higher than those that humans consume in their diet. The metabolism rate of the chemical in humans is also different from that of animals. Humans metabolize acrylamide quickly and easily compared to animals. Acrylamide being harmful to humans is nothing to be concerned about.

Types of Coffee with Acrylamide

Acrylamide in coffee forms during the roasting process of the coffee beans. Any coffee type that undergoes the roasting process contains some amounts of acrylamide. This is as a result of subjection to the high roasting temperatures. Examples of coffees that contain acrylamide include:

  1. Instant Coffee

This coffee contains 358 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram.

  1. Coffee Substitutes

These contain the highest acrylamide concentration. The substitutes contain 818 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram.

  1. Natural Roasted Coffee

Natural roasted coffee contains 179 micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram. They have the least amount of the chemical.

The acrylamide concentration in the types of coffee beans varies from one another. Coffee that is fresh and well roasted has the lowest concentration of acrylamide.

The Link Between Coffee, Acrylamide, and Cancer

Acrylamide is known to cause cancer in animals though this has not been proved to humans yet. Drinking coffee has been concluded to be beneficial to your body. Drinking 3 to 4 cups a day reduces the risk of getting some cancers by 40%. The types of cancers reduced are:

  • Endometrial cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Oral cancer

Therefore, coffee intake does not increase your risk of cancer. You don’t have to cut off your coffee intake as it is more beneficial to your health. Coffee industries are, however, working to ensure they reduce acrylamide in your coffee.

How to Reduce Acrylamide Consumption in Your Body

  1. Presoak your potatoes for 30minutes before cooking them. It reduces acrylamide concentration level by 38%.
  2. Avoid storing your potatoes in the fridge. This increases acrylamide.
  3. Add rosemary to your dough while baking your bread. A teaspoon is enough. This reduces acrylamide by 60%.
  4. Remove the crust in your bread. This will also help reduce acrylamide consumption.
  5. Steam, microwave, or boil your carbs before cooking them. Boiled carbs do not have acrylamide.
  6. Cook your food at a low temperature to reduce acrylamide.
  7. Eat cancer-fighting foods such as cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  8. Consume dark roasted coffee that is fresh as it contains the least amount of acrylamides.
  9. Minimize or avoid smoking as cigarette smoke contains acrylamides.
  10. Limit frying of foods if possible as it produces high amounts of acrylamide.

Bottom line

Acrylamides contents are present in roasted coffee, instant coffee, coffee substitutes, some food, and water. This shows that avoiding consumption of the chemical is almost impossible. The only way to remain healthy is by adopting a healthy feeding plan. Eat fruits, vegetables, low-fat products, and whole grains. Continue taking your coffee if you love it as it benefits your health.