This has to be one of the greatest ideas in the history of food: vitamin-fortified coffee.
I couldn’t wait for the embargo to lift Tuesday morning on this press release so I could write about it. I appreciate fortifying bread and cereal with folic acid, and the importance to pregnant women of getting enough of it, so coffee seems like a natural choice.
Folic acid deficiency leads to devastating birth defects.
My question is: Why hasn’t anyone done this before? I guess it could be like fortifying cigarettes — you don’t want to encourage use of some things because they’re made more nutritious. Still, with half the world’s population addicted to coffee, like me, enriching it with all manner of nutrients seems a no-brainer. Maybe there were technical issues.
According to a press release, beginning in early 2008, food technology company Voyava Republic will add 80 micrograms — one-third of the recommended daily allowance — of folic acid to its SPAVA coffee line.
In doing so, SPAVA will become the first coffee line to fortify its beans with folic acid.
CEO Michael Sweeney unveiled the product today in New York City at the National Coffee Association’s fall conference.
“SPAVA’s ground-breaking fortified coffee announcement marks the latest significant step in the food fortification movement, which has benefited the health of U.S.consumers for decades – from the addition of iodine to salt in 1924 to prevent goiter, to the addition of vitamin D to milk for calcium and phosphorus absorption. Long recognized as an essential nutrient for women, folic acid intake was recently linked with lower breast cancer rates among post-menopausal women in a study published this summer by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” according to the release.
SPAVA uses a patent-pending technology to “imbue” Arabica beans with supplements such as gingko biloba and echinacea. The company said the ”innovative coffee line” aims aims to improve physical and mental health, and deliver benefits for joint health, memory, immunity, metabolism and stress relief.
SPAVA appears in health food stores around the country. It sells for $9.99 to $12.99 per 12-ounce bag. To learn more, visit www.SPAVAcoffee.com.
To me, there are four epochs in the history of food for human consumption:
1. Hunter-gatherers establish agriculture, anchoring them to one place and ending nomadic lifestyles
2. Discovery of cooking
3. Use of preservatives and, later, refrigeration
4. Vitamin-fortified coffee
Please check out The Medicine Bag blog at http://blog.newsok.com/health
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer