How Adding One Spice to Your Coffee Can Neutralize its Acidic Effects
- Published on: 20 January, 2018
- Last update: 03 November, 2020
One of my favorite ways to learn about natural herbal remedies is to look at cultural wisdom & tradition. Back in the day, grandmas were the medicine women of every community (for example, when my mom was anemic as a child her grandmother gave her carrot juice. Vitamin A helps to move stored iron into red blood cells!)
Today, we’re taking some wisdom from the Turkish culture on how to make coffee far less acidic & irritating to the gut lining.
I’ve written about coffee several times before, because it’s one of those things that has a 50/50 split when it comes to health benefits vs. risks. Most of the science agrees that 8 ounces or less is quite beneficial, whereas more than one cup per day can increase blood markers for inflammation (such as IL-6 for the fellow nerds out there!) To learn more about this “one cup a day” research, check out my post here.
Most of the negative health effects from that 50/50 split are thanks to the acidity of coffee itself. It has a pH value of ~5.0, while the human body needs to be at ~7.4 for optimal health.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, acid from tea, coffee, and spicy foods not only throws off our pH, but can also irritate our intestines. This leads to an increase of gas-producing mucus that eventually hinders digestion.
While alkaline coffee has not yet been discovered, there is one trick we can borrow from Turkey & the Middle East to mitigate this effect: cardamom! Cardamom is highly alkaline, making it an excellent antidote to acid.
As a member of the ginger family, cardamom has been used to make heavy and acidic foods easier to digest for more than 5,000 years.
In Ayurveda, the seeds are used as lozenges to suck on after meals to aid digestion, reduce mucus buildup in the body and naturally combat gas. Cardamom is also one of the richest sources of the phytochemical cineole, a potent antiseptic for bad breath, gum disease, sore throats, and respiratory conditions. On top of all this, it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine!
HOW TO ADD CARDAMOM TO YOUR COFFEE
To reap the benefits, use 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom per cup of joe. You can add it to the grounds in a drip machine, let it steep in your French press, or simply mix it with sugar at the bottom of your cup before pouring in hot coffee.