Coffee gets a lot of love. After water and tea, it’s one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Most people can’t start their days without it! If this sounds like you, take the time to learn how coffee affects mineral absorption. A cup every day might mess with mineral levels.
However, that doesn’t mean coffee is unhealthy. It’s abundant in compounds that are good for you like antioxidants and flavonoids.1 The caffeine in it also wakes up your central nervous system, helping you concentrate.
Regular consumption may even help your body according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It’s linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. A daily cup of coffee also could protect you from heart disease, the number one cause of death in America.2 Coffee certainly has its perks – and downfalls.
While this beloved beverage hinders mineral absorption, don’t panic. You don’t need to give up coffee!
3 Minerals Every Coffee Drinker Needs
Caffeine interferes with calcium absorption. In fact, with every cup of coffee, the absorption negatively shifts 4 to 6 milligrams.3 This mainly affects people who don’t get enough calcium, but most people fit the bill. On an average, men get 871 to 1,266 milligrams a day while women get only 748 to 968 milligrams. The recommended intake is 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams depending on age and gender.
As the most abundant mineral in your body,
The solution? Have no more than 3 cups of coffee a day. And at the same time, get enough calcium from food and/or supplements. Adequate intake of vitamin D, a nutrient that helps calcium absorption, is also vital. With this approach, you can enjoy coffee and protect your bones.5
Coffee’s polyphenols aren’t perfect. While they’re strong antioxidants, they can also bind with non-heme iron, hindering intestinal absorption.6
This can mean trouble for your iron levels. Red blood cells need it to transport oxygen. It is also important for DNA synthesis and immune function. Plus, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Getting enough is vital.7
Coffee can interfere when it’s taken with iron supplements or food. To prevent this, experts recommend consuming the two separately.8 Having coffee one hour (or more) before iron-rich meals won’t harm absorption.9
Coffee limits zinc bioavailability by 21 to 32 percent. It also has phytate, an inhibitor of zinc absorption. Together, these effects might mess with your zinc levels.10
From signaling to enzyme activation, countless cellular functions depend on zinc. Growth and development aren’t complete without it. Zinc also helps the immune system thrive – even more than vitamin C.
Deficiency is rare, but the risk is higher if you already have a condition that affects absorption. Examples include celiac disease, alcoholism, or inflammatory bowel disease. Persistent diarrhea, malnourishment, and certain medications can also spark zinc deficiency.11
More research is needed to determine how coffee affects zinc. Until then,
Moderate coffee intake won’t be an issue if you consume enough of these minerals. If you’re at a risk of deficiency, talk to your doctor about supplements. Otherwise, aim for a well-rounded diet whether or not you drink coffee.
|↑1||Healthy Beverage Guidelines. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑2||O’Keefe, James H., Salman K. Bhatti, Harshal R. Patil, James J. DiNicolantonio, Sean C. Lucan, and Carl J. Lavie. “Effects of habitual coffee consumption on cardiometabolic disease, cardiovascular health,
|↑3, ↑6, ↑8, ↑10||Higdon, Jane V., and Balz Frei. “Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 46, no. 2 (2006): 101-123.|
|↑4||Calcium. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑5||Higdon, Jane V., and Balz Frei. “Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 46, no. 2 (2006): 101-123.|
|↑7||Iron. Oregon State University.|
|↑9||Morck, Timothy A., S. R. Lynch, and J. D. Cook. “Inhibition of food iron absorption by coffee.” The
|↑11||Zinc. Oregon State University.|