This Professor Thinks Fortified Coffee Can Improve Our Lives
If we're already drinking it, we might as well get some vitamin D and resveratrol with it
Americans drink a lot of coffee—by most accounts, an average of at least two cups per day, if not three or even more. Despite caffeine’s ominous-sounding status as the world’s most-used recreational drug, most studies have shown that all that coffee might actually be healthy for us. But could it be even healthier? A chemistry professor thinks so—and the key is taking all that coffee people are already drinking and packing it full of extra antioxidants and vitamins.
Glen Miller is the chair of the chemistry department at the University of New Hampshire, but he’s also the founder of Vera Roasting, a coffee company looking to make your morning cup of joe even healthier. The brand launched a few years ago with CoffVee, billed as a “heart healthy coffee” thanks to its additional magical ingredient, resveratrol. Wine lovers will recognize that word: It’s the much-hyped antioxidant that purportedly gives red wine its health benefits. When Miller came up with the idea for Vera Roasting, he was looking for ways to essentially sneak more resveratrol into Americans diets. Convincing people to drink more red wine was a bit of a tricky gambit, but Americans already loved their coffee, making the beverage a convenient delivery vehicle.
Miller developed a way of infusing coffee beans with concentrated resveratrol, and CoffVee was born. “People want a good-tasting coffee, they want a delicious coffee,” Miller told New Hampshire Public Radio during a recent profile. “And if you deliver a delicious coffee that also has a health benefit associated with it, that's just icing on the cake.”
Unsurprisingly, the idea of a coffee with all the benefits of red wine garnered plenty of press back in 2015, and despite his products only being available direct from the company, Miller said it wasn’t long before he had customers in all 50 states.
However, Miller isn’t done with his healthy fortified coffees either. Late last year, Vera Roasting introduced a new Sunshine Blend—coffee beans that hope to spike Americans diets with another healthy substance that they often lack… Vitamin D. “There is a tremendous Vitamin D deficiency in this country,” he told NHPR. “Forty percent, it's estimated, of US adults have a Vitamin D deficiency. And probably most of them don't know it.” On the product’s website, this blend boasts that it contains approximately 400 IU of Vitamin D3—and, of course, the same resveratrol as the brand’s other coffees.
So can a special coffee really cure what ails you? There are certainly crazier ideas out there than a coffee infused with extra antioxidants and vitamins. And one thing is for certain: Plenty of Americans spend way more time drinking coffee than they do drinking red wine or going out in the sun. So maybe coffee can get even better than you previously thought.