Coffee does have oxalates but usually in extremely small doses. Oxalates are also known as oxalic acid, which coffee beans do contain. Different types of beans contain various amounts of oxalic acid. Once the beans are ground, the oxalate content decreases to even lower levels.
Coffee has a lot of health benefits for those who drink it. However, some people are quite sensitive to oxalates, so it’s important to know how much oxalic acid is in your morning cup of joe.
In this article, we’ll look at the oxalate content of various types of coffee, what oxalates are, and what the potential downside is of them. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Oxalates?
Oxalic acid is found in foods and plants. Your body also makes oxalates during the digestive process. Oxalic acid leaves the body in the form of waste.
Oxalates are generally thought to be healthy. This is because they’re contained in many healthy plant-based foods. Leafy greens and legumes are often high in oxalic acid.
Truthfully, the oxalates aren’t what is healthy. They are just contained in foods that are also nutrient rich. The foods have high mineral and vitamin contents, along with the oxalates.
Read also: Does Oatmeal Have Oxalates? (The Truth!)
Does Coffee Have Oxalates?
Coffee beans naturally have some oxalic acid. However, it’s not much compared to other foods and beverages. Also, the whole coffee beans have more oxalates than ground coffee.
Coffee loses some of the oxalic acid contained in the beans during the grinding process.
Decaffeinated ground coffee retains a little more oxalate because much of the oxalic acid is stripped out during the decaffeination process but still sitting in the solution with the beans.
How Many Oxalates Are in a Cup of Coffee?
The amount of oxalates varies between different types of coffee. But a good estimate is to say that one cup of regular coffee contains just 1 milligram of oxalate. That means coffee has almost no oxalate.
A cup of decaf coffee doesn’t have much more. You’ll typically get about 2 milligrams of oxalate in one cup of decaffeinated coffee.
Are Oxalates Bad for You?
The simple and quick answer is no, oxalates aren’t bad for you. But there’s more to it than just the simple and quick answer.
Oxalates can strip you of nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
Oxalic acid binds to minerals like iron or magnesium and makes it where your body can’t absorb those nutrients. Instead, they get flushed out of the body with the waste.
Now, some of this processing is natural and fine. However, if you take in too many oxalates, it can cause your body to become deficient in certain essential nutrients. It’s important to note that for most people it would take an exorbitant amount of oxalates to reach this level.
Read also: Does Arugula Have Oxalates? (The Truth!)
Are There Any Health Benefits of Oxalates?
We’ve all heard of kidney stones. Some of us have even experienced them before. Kidney stones form in the kidneys when there’s an overload of calcium or uric acid, and the body can’t process it fast enough.
There are two schools of thought regarding how oxalates affect kidney stone formulation. One is that oxalate adds to the problem.
The other is that oxalates reduce the risk of having kidney stones. The thought is that since oxalates bind to minerals and often remove them from the body, then this is what could happen with calcium. Oxalic acid could combine with calcium to form oxalates that get flushed out of the body with waste.
What Kind of Coffee Has the Highest Oxalate Content?
Research shows that instant coffee has more oxalates than regular ground coffee that you brew. It’s also been noted that decaf coffee tends to have more than regular.
Decaf coffee has about double the amount of oxalates in one cup compared to regular.
That being said, we mentioned above that one cup of regular coffee only has around 1 milligram of oxalate. So, double is only 2 milligrams. For most people, this is no cause for concern.
Should I Worry About the Oxalate Content of My Coffee?
The bottom line is coffee doesn’t have much oxalic acid in it, so no, you shouldn’t worry about it. But read the disclaimer note below.
Though you shouldn’t worry about the coffee itself, you may want to think about it in terms of your entire oxalate intake.
If you are sensitive to oxalates, it’s more important for you to keep track of how much oxalate you’re taking in with your diet.
If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, maybe stay away from leafy greens like spinach or arugula. Don’t take in a lot of chocolate. Be mindful of the fruits and vegetables you’re eating.
Mixing coffee into a diet that’s full of oxalate-dense foods and drinks is more dangerous for people with sensitivities to oxalic acid.
What Symptoms Do Oxalates Cause?
Usually, when oxalates affect the body negatively, there’s discomfort in the bladder, the urinary tract, or the digestive tract.
Should you experience something like this, contact a medical professional for guidance on what you should do.
Coffee does have a minimal amount of oxalate in it. The level is so low, though, that most people shouldn’t feel concern over it.
If you eat an oxalate-rich diet, you may want to pay attention to your coffee intake, but even then, you should be fine.
Coffee is not a good source of oxalates, so it’s fine for those without oxalic acid sensitivity.
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