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So I am writing this article just to remind myself and you, that keeping your stomach healthy is very important for cognitive function. No matter how much you exercise or the kind of Nootropic you take, you won’t be able to think properly if your stomach is constantly sick. Even exercise becomes harder to perform if your stomach is in distress.
My personal anecdote is that I constantly take coffee or cocoa as a way to boost my cognitive prowess. The problem that I keep encountering is that either the cocoa or coffee goes bad such that taking these substances cause me significant GI distress, meaning that I effectively giving myself an anti-nootropic effect. What irony.
So to avoid this in the future, here are some guidelines to follow:
Guidelines for Keeping Coffee Fresh
Once roasted, coffee beans stay good for about a month. Afterwards, they are a significantly harsher on the stomach.
Unground-roasted coffee sealed & stored inside air-tight package won’t go rancid anytime soon; although the flavor is best when the coffee is freshly roasted and then consumed after given 2-3 days to gass off.
Once unground-roasted coffee in a air-tight container is opened, it will also last a little more than a month; about 4 weeks. If your open an air-tight container of grounded coffee, assume that the coffee will last for even a shorter period of time; like 3 weeks.
And of course, throw-away (or compost) the coffee once it spoils. It will only become harder on your poor stomach with more time.
Then another aspect of the coffee to gut irritation problem, is the roast of the coffee. My general advice is to try various different roasts and see what works for you. I have personally found that light roast coffee is easier on my tummy than dark roast (a.k.a burnt or charcoal roast) coffee. I also suggest you only drink coffee of the arabica variety, since it is less bitter than the robusta strain of coffee beans.
In order to insure that your coffee doesn’t go bad before you finish it, I would suggest observing how much coffee you drink and buying an amount that matches the amount you drink per month. For example, you can’t finish a pound of coffee before a month is over, I would suggest purchasing half a pound of coffee instead. Purchasing in smaller amounts can also insure that the flavor of the coffee stays delicious, before being forced to drink whatever is left that has gone rancid.
Another point that I would like to add is that you have the option of vacuum-sealing your coffee beans or grounds and then throwing it in the refrigerator/freezer to store indefinitely. Note that if you don’t vacuum seal either, then moister will collect into the coffee bean and ruin it.
Guidelines for Keeping Cocoa Fresh
I’ve tried pure cocoa powder and cocoa powder with sugar added to it. My observation is that I have only had problems with cocoa with added sugar. My conjecture is that the sugar makes the cocoa powder significantly more potent as a breeding ground for pathogens and various other bacteria that can colonize your poor cocoa powder. The result is that cocoa with added sugar has a extremely poor shelf-life, about a week or two in my experience. So if you purchase hot cocoa powder that does not come in separately packaged servings, I would suggest consuming the hot chocolate quickly with a group of people. I personally made the mistake of trying to finish off Starbuck’s 30 Ounce Hot Cocoa all by myself, but I found that I could only finish half of it before it started giving my poor gut problems due to the cocoa perishing.
Otherwise, pure cocoa powder and solid blocks of chocolate lasts a surprisingly long time. I have tried some pure cocoa powder and chocolate bars that were opened from 6 months ago, stored in the fridge, with not a problem according to my tummy.
Too Lazy; Didn’t Read:
To address the headache of making sure I drink only the freshest coffee, I just stick with a fraction of a caffeine pill. I might buy & drink some coffee, but only in a small amount to insure that I finish it before it expires. And as for chocolate, just stay away from the cocoa with added sugar; you can use pure cocoa powder and separately add sugar to make your hot cocoa drink, if you so desire.
Have any questions? Ask in the comments below!