Reducing Coffee pH Levels Naturally
Coffee is an incredibly versatile and powerful drink, with many benefits and some drawbacks. The benefits include increased mood and brain function, increased metabolism and fat burning, enhanced exercise performance, reduced risk of type 2 heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and many more astounding benefits. This runs counter to evidence during the 1980’s that showed mostly negative benefits.
That’s not to say there are no drawbacks however. Coffee contains caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant famous for its ability to fight fatigue and increase energy levels. That’s exactly why billions of people rely on it to wake up, or to get through that night shift or an afternoon slump. However, overuse of this stimulant is often linked to negative effects on sleep and anxiety because of it’s main effect on the brain.
It works by blocking the role of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that gradually relaxes the brain over the course of the day and makes you feel tired at night. Coffee connects to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them, leading to reduced tiredness, while also increasing adrenaline levels and brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
In all, this is a potent combination of brain stimulation that makes some refer to coffee as a psychoactive drug to be used with care. Its consumption is generally considered habit forming, with some side effects linked to excess intake including anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and trouble sleeping. This can also lead to headaches, migraines, and high blood pressure in some individuals.
Another possible drawback is that coffee is acidic. The word can be a little confusing, because when coffee professionals talk about “acidity,” they are talking about the presence of certain acids that influence coffee taste. However, in this article, I am referring to total acidity, or the acidity of the acid/alkaline scale. All foods can be rated on an acid/alkaline scale. Acidity is generally determined using the pH scale (registering from 0 to 7), while a solution registering from 7 to 14 is considered basic (aka not acidic).
Most coffee varieties are acidic, with an average pH value of 4.85 to 5.10. Although this is still less acidic than drinks like beer, orange juice, and even soda, if you’re a regular coffee consumer, there is an easy fix to alkalize coffee and reduce overall total daily acid load.
You can opt for buying some great low-acid coffee available on the market now. A paper published on Texas A&M University’s site showed that a dark roast could reduce the amount of acid created in the stomach after coffee consumption. As the beans roast, a compound comes together that helps keep acid at bay.
If you have the habit of drinking coffee more than once a day, then you should pay attention to the acidic nature of your coffee. A neat little trick I use is to add baking soda to the drink. This can be done while brewing a pot of coffee (1/4 teaspoon) or adding a pinch to a cup of ready-to-drink coffee. Surprisingly, the baking soda has no detectable flavor.
Why Baking Soda Works
Baking soda is alkaline in nature with a pH value of around 8. It contains sodium bicarbonate, which reacts with an acid to release carbon dioxide gas. This process creates a chemical reaction called “carbonation” that changes the pH level of your beverage from acidic to alkaline. It also tames the bitterness and acidity of your coffee.
Studies show that baking soda also prevents the build-up of acids such as uric acid and phosphorus. These acids can lead to health problems such as kidney stones, and stomach ulcers. Baking soda may also help with gout (a form of inflammatory arthritis). (theoldcoffeepot)
As an added bonus, scientists at the University of California, Irvine now claim that because baking soda neutralizes the acidity of coffee beans, it reduces the amount of caffeine present by about 10 percent. This is not only because the baking soda acts as an alkali, but also because it actually changes the chemistry of the bean itself. So if you love coffee but are prone to anxiety and stress, this fix reduces the amount of total caffeine in the drink.
As you can see, a little bit of baking soda can have a lot of positive effects.