Dietary Fiber & Coffee

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No time for cereal this morning? No problem, grab a coffee instead. Already recognized as a source of healthful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, coffee also contains significantly higher levels of soluble dietary fiber than other commonly consumed beverages, including red wine and orange juice.

Coffee is a complex chemical mixture that reportedly contains more than 1,000 different compounds, some of which have been linked to both positive and negative effects on human health. But while scientists have known for years that coffee beans are rich in soluble dietary fiber, further research is just beginning.

In a recent study, researchers used a special technique for measuring dietary fiber in beverages to show that brewed coffee contains a significant amount of soluble dietary fiber (the type of fiber that dissolves in water and helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestines).

The findings mean that consumption of just 1 cup of java a day represents a contribution of nearly 2 grams of the recommended intake of 20 to 38 grams of this essential nutrient.

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When it comes to instant coffee, espresso and filtered coffee, instant coffee is the leader as it contains the most fiber – about 1.8 grams per cup. Espresso roughly 1.5 grams of soluble dietary fiber per cup, and filtered coffee contains 1.1 grams.

In order to reach the recommended daily intake of about 31 grams of fiber a day, a person would have to drink a lot of coffee – about 17 cups of instant.

But that does not mean you should drink coffee in favor of veggies and whole grains. No way.

In addition to fiber, coffee also contains caffeine—around 100 milligrams per cup. So it’s far better to get fiber from a variety of fiber-rich foods that do not contain caffeine and are also packed with other healthy compounds. Beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are still the leading sources. According to the National Coffee Association, more than 80 per cent of adults in the U.S. drink an average of 3.2 cups of java every day, which could amount to nearly one third of the recommend daily intake of fiber.

But, of course, a cup is relative these days. A “grande” (medium size) cup at Starbucks, for instance, could pack as much as three grams of fiber, about the same as a raw apple and 20 percent or more of the average American’s daily intake.

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