November 17, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
People ask me all the time if I have a nutritional vice. I guess you can say that I have two, but I don’t consider them that evil. I like to enjoy some red wine with dinner on the weekends, and every day I have a double espresso with breakfast and then a single shot after lunch and sometimes dinner.
I have an expensive Saeco machine that makes a great espresso. I use it whenever I have one in the afternoon or evening, but in the morning I have to make it the old-fashioned way on the stove. That’s the way my parents and grandparents used to have it back in the day, and that’s the way I continue to have it today. I love the aroma that fills the house. It’s just a wonderful experience that reminds me of my youth and the caffeine jolt is an added bonus!
There’s a legitimate health concern from using a stovetop espresso maker, however, and it has nothing to do with the caffeine. You see, the traditional material used for these pots is aluminum. You can buy them in stainless steel, but as far as I’m concerned it’s not the same. Aluminum from coffeemakers may pose several health concerns including iron-deficiency anemia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, damage to the central nervous system, listlessness, and severe trembling (1). There are two ways that you can protect yourself from these health risks:
1. Don’t wash the pot after it’s used. The coffee oils create a thin layer on the inside of the pot and that layer actually prevents the contact of coffee with the aluminum next time you use it (2).
2. Consider taking a boron supplement.
How can boron help, you ask? Well, to answer that question we need to go back in time when I told you to stop bullying your thyroid. If you recall, iodine (I) is necessary for thyroid hormone production and fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl) and bromine (Br) will compete with iodine in your body because those elements all fall on the same column on the periodic table. Now, take a look below at where aluminum (Al) lies. You’ll see that just above it is boron (B).
It’s possible that boron can compete with aluminum just like zinc (Zn) can compete with mercury (Hg). Of course, this is just a theory at the moment – I haven’t found any research on this yet – but it looks like someone else has come up with this boron aluminum hypothesis as well, so I’m not alone with this line of thought.
Take-Home Message: Go ahead and enjoy an espresso made from an aluminum pot on the stove, just don’t wash the pot beforehand and consider taking a boron supplement.