A Healthy Cup of Joe?

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For most people, the function of coffee is simply to deliver a morning wake-up jolt. But a new coffee aims to turn this ritual into a more healthful habit. J.O.E. (Java of Evolution), by Jeremiah's Pick Coffee, is the first "functional" coffee to reach the market. Functional foods, or nutraceuticals, as they are sometimes called, are ordinary products (sodas, cereals, soups and even chewing gum) that have been fortified with extra vitamins, herbs or minerals. They are one of the fastest-growing areas of the food industry. From relative obscurity a decade ago these foods have gone to a $50 billion business today, according to Nutrition Business Journal. The jury is still out on whether these fortified foods are actually more healthful than their ordinary equivalents. Legally, functional foods don't have to be tested; they just have to contain added vitamins, herbs or minerals. Jeremiah's Pick has mixed herbs and coffee before, with Powercafe, an organic coffee combined with energizing yerba mate. But J.O.E. takes the concept further in four versions. GO J.O.E. combines coffee with five types of ginseng and is meant to increase energy levels. KNOW J.O.E. offers ginkgo biloba, which purportedly can improve memory. SLOW J.O.E. has calming lavender and chamomile. There's also CoCo J.O.E.-- because who doesn't feel better after a little chocolate?