Coffee - Who can drink it and who should avoid it?
Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).
Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it! The truth is it is different for everyone. If you are one of those people who find that coffee makes you agitated then this stress on your body is negatively impacting your immune system and health. Your body will tell you whether you can handle it or not.
There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.
NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.
Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.
Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.
About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.
This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body
NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.
Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):
● Stimulates the brain
● Boosts metabolism
● Boosts energy and exercise performance
● Increases your stress hormone cortisol
So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.
Coffee and health risks:
There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.
Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:
● Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
● Increased sleep disruption
● Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
● Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
● Lower risk of certain liver diseases
● Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality")
● Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease
Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).
NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.
Should you drink coffee or not?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.
Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:
● People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
● People who often feel anxious and have trouble sleeping
● People who are pregnant
● Children and teens
● People with chronic stress and potentially adrenal fatigue
Now a word here on why caffeinated beverages are a bad idea for people under chronic stress and/or are suffering from adrenal fatigue or exhaustion....
When you body is so exhausted that your adrenal glands (otherwise known as your "stress glands") start malfunctioning, they will struggle to regulate your stress hormones. This means you will likely experience excess cortisol release in the middle of the night when levels should be low so you can sleep soundly. You may also find your cortisol levels are way too low in the morning when you wake up which is the time of the day when they should be at their peak! This is probably why you struggle to get out of bed and never feel rested when under stress.
People suffering from adrenal fatigue often look to coffee and other caffeine stimulants as a quick "pick me up" to help them get through the day. But the problem is, you are artificially stimulating your adrenal glands which exhausts them even further!! So you end up in a vicious cycle!
If none of the above conditions apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:
● Give you the jitters?
● Increase anxious feelings?
● Affect your sleep?
● Give you heart palpitations?
● Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
● Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?
Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.
If you have a specific health challenge or are concerned about chronic symptoms and would like to know where to focus to heal your body naturally, I would urge you to book your FREE initial consultation so we can assess your symptoms and determine the best approach FOR YOU to help you resolve them. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION TODAY.
Fancy a tasty, healthy coffee treat? Check out this recipe below!
Recipe : Pumpkin Spice Latte
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.