1. Paint with it
Run out of paint? Try using coffee mixed with water instead. To get different tones, change the amount of water – for a more intense colour, use less water. You’ll soon be creating beautiful artworks for your home. It’s a great option for the kids to use, and it’s also cheap!
2. Hair rinse for shedding & residue build-up
Get rid of residue left by hair styling products by massaging used coffee grounds into your hair before you shampoo. You can also help to prevent your hair shedding with a coffee rinse, just apply after you shampoo or condition. Remember to take care when you’re in the bathroom, you don’t want coffee splashed everywhere – it would be a pain to clean up!
3. Keep unwanted cats away
Cats seem to really HATE the smell of coffee so grab a handful to spread throughout the garden, and they’ll soon stay away from your precious plants. Mix your grounds with orange peels to give it that extra cat-repelling effect.
4. Use as Pin cushion filler
If you love to sew, chances are you’ll need a trusty pin cushion to store your tools. Good news, you can use coffee grounds as a perfect filler for for your pin cushion, plus they’ll also keep your pins from rusting. Who knew?
5. In your compost
Help your soil out by using coffee grounds in compost. They are rich with nitrogen which will help your dear plants convert sunlight into energy. You could even try heading into a local coffee shop to see if they’ll let you take away their used coffee – what a freebie!
6. As an exfoliater
Add used coffee grounds to warm water or coconut oil and scrub your skin from head to foot. Goodbye dead skin cells! Why not check out this scrub recipe from OffbeatAndInspired.com and get making your own? I can’t wait to try this one out, it looks great.
7. Make an air freshener
Do you love, love, LOVE the smell of coffee? Use it as an air freshener! All you need is an odd sock, some coffee beans, an elastic band and a spoon. Find out how to make your very own natural coffee air freshener at Snapguide.com.
8. Create a coffee candle
If you fancy making something simple and easy, fill a bowl with coffee beans and place tea lights on top! The heat of the candle will heat the coffee beans and you can enjoy a lovely aroma throughout the room. I’ve also found a great homemade coffee candle recipe from Instructables.com, which also looks completely achievable.
9. Attract friendly worms
Worms are big fans of coffee, so add some coffee grounds to your garden flowerbeds to attract them. As thanks, the worms you’ve attracted will then help give your soil and plants nutrients, and the tunnels they create when they slither along will help to aerate the soil which will allow roots to grow. Nice!
10. Use as surface scrubber
Use a cleaning cloth and some old coffee grounds to help clean food from kitchen counters, cooking hobs or dirty dishes. The grounds are mildly abrasive, which means they won’t damage your surfaces – so scrub on without fear!
11. Reduce cellulite
You may have seen cellulite-reducing products in beauty shops which include caffeine. Help get rid of cellulite with your very own home-made coffee scrub! Elle.com have a great step-by-step list for you to follow. Health Ambition takes a further look at cellulite and it’s worth a read!
12. Deodorise your fridge & freezer
Got a bad smell in your fridge or freezer? Fill up some bowls of used coffee grounds and put them in overnight. It’s an easy way to get rid of the stink.
13. As Slug & snail repellent
If you’ve got green fingers then you’re probably not a big fan of slugs and snails. As well as killing plants, they can also eat seedlings and even seeds before they’ve had a chance at growing. Help prevent a potential massacre by putting used coffee grounds at the base of plants to keep them safe.
14. Hair colour
Have you got dark hair? You can use coffee as a hair colour enhancer and it will darken and add shine to your mop! Make a strongly brewed coffee and pour it through your hair, but be sure to let the coffee cool off first. Keep it under a shower cap and leave it to sink into your hair.
15. Grow mushrooms
Did you know you can grow your own delicious mushrooms using coffee grounds? Now you’ll never have to go to the supermarket again! Find out how in this helpful How to Grow Mushrooms guide.
16. As fabric dye
Make yourself a mixture of coffee grounds and water and use it to dye clothing… or Ostrich feathers! Find out how at INeedCoffee.com in a great article by Lura Lee.
17. Drain cleaner
Does your drain smell? Pour coffee grounds down the drain and follow up with boiling water to help get rid of odours. Lovely stuff.
18. Help carrots grow
Got a veggie garden on the go? You’ll be pleased to learn that coffee grounds can help your carrot harvest. Mix dried coffee grounds with your carrot seeds to help stimulate growth.
19. Wood stain
It’s not just fabric and paper that coffee can be used on – if your wooden table or fence needs a pick-me-up, try out using coffee as a natural wood stain. Try this How To guide from WholeGreenLove.com.
20. Hand cleaner
After chopping garlic or onions, your hands might be slightly stinky. Don’t worry, those trusty coffee grounds will come to your rescue – give your hands a rub with some grounds to help absorb the smelly odours.
21. Bye bye ants
If you’ve discovered ants, grab some coffee grounds to keep them at bay. Whether it’s the size of the grounds, or the smell, they’re not big fans, so give it’s worth a try.
Use a grout brush or old toothbrush to apply to the grout lines with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda for the best result.
The perfect way to store a small amount of stock (about two tablespoons per well) to use for reheating leftovers or making a sauce.
Many of us have been trained to think that natural is always better, and perhaps, generally speaking, this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Generally true, however, is not absolutely true. This fact becomes abundantly clear when looking at vitamins. In past posts we’ve compared the synthetic and natural variations of vitamins A and B, and this week we’ll take a look at vitamin C.
Believe it or not, all vitamins, whether they are delivered via a supplement or fortified in food–synthetic or natural– are made in a lab. A synthetic vitamin is one that has been wholly made in a lab, and among them there are two types – those that are molecularly identical to their natural counterpart, and those that are not. Natural vitamins, meanwhile are sourced from plants, fruits, animals, and minerals, and then refined and processed in a lab. To be worthy of the label “natural” a vitamin supplement need contain only 10% plant or fruit derived ingredients. The other 90% could very well be synthetic.
The question remains: which is better?
To answer that, we’ll need to look at 3 different ways to get vitamin C – via food, via a whole foods supplement, and via a wholly synthetic vitamin.
Vitamin C From Food vs Supplements
Most will not be surprised to hear that getting vitamins from our food – if possible – remains best. Yet a September 2013 study published in Nutrients journal had some surprising results on the topic when it comes to Vitamin C: experts gave 36 men 50 mg of Vitamin C either in the form of kiwi, or in supplements containing vitamin C. The result? There were no significant differences in the amounts of vitamin C measured in body fluids and tissues, regardless of the form of vitamin C they took. Two other studies also found no significant difference in absorption rates of supported that natural food sources of vitamin C were not better than synthetic sources.
The Difficulty With Food
Vitamin C is found in many foods, mostly fruits and veggies, such as:
raw and cooked leafy greens (turnip greens, spinach)
If you eat your 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies, you’re bound to get enough vitamin C, right? Maybe. The problem is that vitamin C is subject to change when exposed to light, air and heat. So, when our vitamin C-packed foods are cooked, they lose some (and sometimes more than some) of their vitamin C power. Further, a landmark study published in 2004 in the Journal of American College of Nutrition studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamin C over the past half century. Today’s fruits and veggies were found to contain 30% less vitamin C than your grandparents’ fruits and vegetables.
This is not to suggest one forego the fruits and vegetables. Even though many may be less nutrient dense than those from a generation ago, a bite of broccoli still contains not only vitamin C but also vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K, iron, and several other nutrients. Each fruit and vegetable is, in its own way, a multivitamin.
Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamin C: Supplements
Ascorbic acid is the chemical name for vitamin C and gets that name from the disease it treats – scurvy (a signifies no, and scorbutus is the latin word for scurvy). Many animals can produce their own vitamin C and so do not need to get it from food, but humans require it as part of our nutrition. It primarily comes in two forms – L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid. The L variety, which can come in both natural (found in fruits and vegetables, and also whole food vitamins) and synthetic forms (found in most other supplements), is synonymous with vitamin C and carries all its benefits, while the D carries identical antioxidant properties but not the vitamin C content of L and is not used in any form of vitamin supplement.* Between the natural and synthetic varieties of L-ascorbic acid there are no known differences in how they affect our bodies. The l-ascorbic acid found in an orange is the same l-ascorbic acid found in a whole food vitamin C tablet is the same as the l-ascorbic acid found in a gummy multivitamin you bought at Walgreens. Their vitamin C content is all chemically and molecularly identical. D-ascorbic acid, meanwhile, does not exist in nature and, though chemically identical to its counterparts, is molecularly different. It is this molecular difference that makes D-ascorbic acid impossible to be synthesized by your body and unusable in a vitamin supplement.
Ascorbic acid supplements may cause an upset stomach in a few people. For these, “mineral ascorbate” forms of ascorbic acid may be recommended. These alternate forms are buffered, less acidic, and potentially easier on the stomach. Research, however, is inconclusive as to whether or not these alternate forms of vitamin C upset the stomach any less than ascorbic acid for those who are sensitive (if ascorbic acid is causing difficulty for you, your healthcare practitioner can help you find the right solution).
Vitamin C and Your Health
It is relatively rare to be outright deficient in vitamin C, and the problem seems to be getting better — according to the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), covering the period 1988 to 1994, 13% of the US population was found to be vitamin C deficient. According to the CDC’s analysis of the fourth NHANES report covering the period up to 2004, vitamin C status improved, and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency was significantly lower. According to the authors, recent vitamin C supplement use and improved diet contributed to the better numbers. Vitamin C insufficiency, however, is more prevalent.
Vitamin C remains crucial to:
growth and repair of tissues*
making skin, tendons and blood vessels*
helping wounds heal faster*
keeping bones and teeth healthy*
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and does not carry the same risks of overdose toxicity that fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin A) carry, so doubling down through a multivitamin and through diet may not be a bad idea. Also vital is the quality of whatever you ingest–in vitamin OR food form. When considering supplements, look for the “NSF Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certification.” NSF is a not-profit company who administers the GMP certification to those facilities that meet only the highest standards for supplement manufacturing. Also, make sure to check with your healthcare practitioner to see if adding supplements to your diet is right for you.
by Diane Dean