Almost everyone we know enjoys a cup of coffee (or two or three) each morning. And there’s a good reason for that.
First of all, it is delicious.
Second, it’s a ritual that we rely on to start our day on the right foot.
Third, coffee has tons of health benefits and includes all sorts of nutrients and antioxidants. Studies show that it can even reduce your risk for heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and type 2 diabetes.
But guess what?
Coffee also has fiber.
So just in case, you needed yet another excuse to enjoy your second or third daily cup of Joe, now you’ve got one. Whether you like a café latte, cold brew, or a quick cup of autodrip, brewed coffee does have fiber — even more than orange juice!
For that matter, so does instant coffee!
Here’s what we know:
Coffee beans are rich in dietary fiber. Food scientists have known that for years.
But since we don’t eat raw coffee beans, does their fiber content even matter?
Well, some studies show that some of that fiber makes its way into your cup.
Before we get into all the details, let’s look at what dietary fiber is.
There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and aids in digestion. It improves blood glucose control and can reduce cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood. Foods high in soluble fiber include citrus fruits, oats, beans, apples, and barley.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Instead, it attracts water into your stool, promoting better bowel health. Foods that are a good source of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, nuts, cauliflower, and green beans.
All foods that contain fiber contain both types, just in different amounts, and both are important for gut health.
Scientific studies (links below) state that after brewing coffee beans, small amounts of soluble fiber pass through the grounds and end up in your cup.
And this is great news because now we know that there’s yet another health benefit to drinking coffee!
Fiber is key to gut health. But soluble fiber, which you can get from coffee, has some unique health benefits. Benefits that are essential to maintaining an overall healthy and well-functioning digestive system.
Here are some of the vital ways that fiber can benefit your health:
The body doesn’t absorb soluble fiber. Instead, it turns to gel during the digestive process. That gel attracts and attaches to cholesterol particles, which then carries the cholesterol out of the body. Reducing cholesterol levels in the body can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber can also reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Since it doesn't absorb into the body, it doesn’t add to blood sugar spikes that can put you at higher risk for diabetes. If you already have diabetes, soluble fiber can help to stabilize your glucose levels.
The fact that soluble fiber turns to gel during the digestive process is key. That gel blocks some of the fat in food before it can absorb into the body. The less fat you absorb, the easier it can be to control and manage your weight.
We all know that orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. Yet, some people rely on OJ as a fiber source.
It may be time to rethink that habit.
A whole, fresh orange contains three grams of fiber. But the amount of fiber that ends up in a glass of orange juice is considerably less. One cup of orange juice contains a mere 0.5 grams of fiber, which is a tiny fraction of your daily recommended fiber intake.
A cup of coffee provides considerably more.
Wondering what all the buzz about pour-over coffee is about? Learn How to Use a Pour Over Coffee Maker with our handy brew guide.
Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details of just how much fiber exists in a cup of brewed coffee. The findings are quite interesting …
The critical study on dietary fiber in brewed coffee was conducted by two food scientists at the National Research Council in Madrid. During this study, Fulgencio Saura-Calixto and Elena Díaz-Rubio researched the fiber content in espresso, freeze-dried instant coffee, and drip coffee.
Here’s what they found:
If you’d like to read the entire study, you can access their original report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The Saura-Calixto-Díaz-Rubio study is one of the most popular reviews on this subject. Yet other food scientists have delved into this issue as well.
Here are some other interesting facts that may encourage you to reach for that second or third cup:
One of the most important findings from the Saura-Calixto-Díaz-Rubio study is that freeze-dried coffee has the most fiber. But suggesting that you drink instant coffee is just not in our DNA. We always prefer freshly roasted beans, ground, and brewed with some serious love!
Let's take instant coffee out of the equation for the moment and focus on the two other coffee types studied: espresso and drip-brew.
Scientists have proven that there’s more fiber in a cup of espresso than in a drip brew.
This leads us to our next point: there are many ways to enjoy a cup of espresso.
There are all sorts of espresso-based coffee drinks, so if you’re not into taking a single shot out of a tiny demitasse cup, try one of these instead:
Want more info on different coffee and espresso drinks? Check out: What’s Your Usual? How to Compare Coffee Drinks and Find Your Go-To.
Can coffee alone provide enough grams of fiber needed to maintain good gut health?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
The recommendations for daily fiber intake are as follows:
You cannot rely on common beverages, be it orange juice or coffee, as your primary fiber source. Drinking a few cups of coffee a day can add to your daily intake of fiber, but the best way to get the proper amount of fiber in your diet is to eat the right foods.
You'd have to drink large amounts of coffee to get your daily intake of fiber.
Yes, coffee has plenty of health benefits. But, too much coffee consumption can have adverse effects, such as increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and insomnia. As with all good things, you need to drink coffee in moderation
The studies above say that a cup of espresso contains 1.5 grams of dietary fiber. If you’re a woman under the age of 50, you’d need to drink about 17 cups of espresso per day to get your full fiber intake. And as much as we love coffee, 17 cups a day is just entirely too much.
Instead of relying on coffee (or any other beverage) for fiber, incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet.
Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber. One slice of multigrain or whole grain bread contains three grams.
Some of our favorite veggies contain lots of fiber as well:
Be sure to include some fruits, beans, and nuts into your diet as well. One cup of cooked kidney beans contains a whopping 12.2 grams of fiber. A medium-sized banana contains 3.1 grams. Three tablespoons of almonds contain four grams.
There are even some snacks that provide high levels of fiber. A cup of air-popped popcorn contains 1.15 grams. A one-ounce piece of dark chocolate has 3.1 grams.
Here’s the bottom line:
Two cups of espresso contain more fiber than a cup of broccoli, and that’s great news for coffee lovers! But you’ll still need to eat high fiber foods to get your proper daily recommended amount.
Related: Is Coffee a Vegetable?
The fact that coffee contains fiber is just one more reason to drink it. But that’s only one small benefit that drinking coffee provides.
Coffee provides various unique health benefits and can help reduce your risk for certain diseases and medical conditions.
Coffee comes with loads of antioxidants and nutrients, including Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin. Studies show that more people get their antioxidants from drinking coffee than from eating fruits and veggies.
The caffeine content in coffee travels to the brain as a stimulant. This makes you more alert and more energized, leading to increased physical activity. Which can make you more productive and give you the push you need to exercise and hit the gym.
Coffee stimulates muscle movement, including the muscles in the colon. This aids in intestinal contractions and can help to promote healthy bowel movements and relieve constipation.
To say that coffee makes us happy is a rather generic statement, but there’s actually some science behind this claim.
Drinking coffee releases dopamine in the brain, and it’s dopamine that creates happy, euphoric feelings. A Harvard School of Public Health study shows that coffee acts as an antidepressant that can lower your risk for depression and suicide.
We love coffee. We love it for its flavor. We love it for the way it makes us feel. We can also love that it has more health benefits than some of the foods we eat.
And knowing that coffee also has fiber?
Well, that’s just one more reason to love it even more …
Will two or three cups a day give you all the fiber you need?
It will not.
But drinking coffee in addition to eating a fiber-rich diet is a great way to ensure that you’re getting that added boost to your system. So all we have to say is this: go ahead and pour yourself another cup!
If you’re local to the Sonoma County area, let our baristas at Taylor Lane help you get your fiber fix in.