Many of us in the Paleo community enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, often the Bulletproof variety (with butter and coconut oil) made popular by my buddy Dave Asprey.
While many studies have been done on the health benefits of coffee, is it possible that our coffee makers are undoing many of these health benefits and are actually making us sick?
Your coffee maker is probably pretty gross
A 2011 study done by NSF International found that a large percentage of traditional coffee makers have yeast and mold growing in them. In fact, if you have a traditional coffee maker, its reservoir is likely has a higher germ count than your bathroom doorknobs and your light switches.
This is definitely pretty gross. Though, can you really be surprised by this given mold likes to grow in warm, moist environments? Plus, how often to you really thoroughly clean out your coffee maker? (More on this in a minute.)
Anecdotally, I looked in my coffee maker this weekend and was absolutely appalled to see what I had let begin to grow in our filter. It was nasty, crusty, and moldy.
What does this mean for your health?
According to this position paper by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, exposure to mold has been linked to many diseases including asthma, though it has not been directly linked to autoimmune diseases.
In doing a little more digging, I came across an interesting article on Dr. Mercola’s website that goes into great depth about different kinds of molds and their effect on your health. (Spoiler alert: none of the molds are particularly good and many of them are incredibly damaging to your health.)
Long story short: minimizing your exposure to molds is probably a good thing for your health.
How to properly clean your coffee maker
Since I’m not going to advocate ditching your coffee, I am going to suggest that if you have a traditional coffee maker — or even one of those newfangled ones — you should make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning it very often. I would say at least every weekend. Considering it’s easy to do, there’s really no excuse not to. Here’s a simple way to do it:
- Fill up your coffee maker’s reservoir with equal parts water and white vinegar, and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
- “Brew” the water/vinegar mixture one time through, and then “brew” several pots of just water to flush everything out.
- After every use, wash the individual coffee maker parts (pot, brew basket, etc.) with soap and water, and let dry before putting back in the coffee maker.
Seems easy enough, right? Plus, it’ll keep your coffee maker from being less germy than your bathroom doorknobs!
How often do you clean your coffee pot? Leave a comment below and let us know. Don’t forget to share this on social media, too!