Should you be drinking coffee?

Posted October 15, 2015 in coffee, breakfast, morning, healthy eating, healthy living, health coach, coffee shop

Every morning, the BF makes coffee for the both of us. It's part of our morning routine.

But as I got ready for work one day this week, he informed me that our coffee pot was broken. WHAT?!?!?

For about two seconds this seemed like a disaster. But the BF quickly informed me that we had a spare coffee pot in the basement (when you move in with your partner after the age of 30, you have double of everything). I also remembered that we have two French presses and multiple coffee shops that take less than five minutes to drive to.

Crisis averted.

Drinking coffee in the morning is one of my favorite parts of the day. I love the ritual of drinking coffee. I love the smell, the bitter flavor, the warmth.

I even love drinking iced coffee in the summer.

But people ask me often, "Isn't coffee bad for you?" Ugh, such downers!

I'll be honest, I don't NEED coffee. Earlier this year, I did an elimination diet to see if I had any food sensitivities, and I eliminated caffeine. After three days of painful coffee withdrawals (headache, moodiness, general feelings of ick), I was fine. I had plenty of energy.

I drink coffee because I like it. Which is why I'll tell you some of the health benefits first.

  • Some studies have shown that caffeine allows athletes to exercise for longer duration without hitting exhaustion. Caffeine decreases the use of glycogen stores during workouts - allowing for longer workouts.
  • Caffeine may stimulate the release of endorphins and hormones that depress pain.
  • Caffeine contains antioxidants.
  • Caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active, preventing diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
  • Drinking coffee can be therapeutic for people with asthma.
  • Caffeine constricts your blood vessels and helps the body absorb medications more quickly. This is why you see pain relievers with added caffeine. (I use caffeine to alleviate migraines and headaches).

Now on to the health concerns. Yep, we have to go there.

  • Caffeine increases stress hormones and elevates your perception of stress.
  • Having four cups of coffee or more raises your blood pressure, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The combination of your heart rate increasing, your blood vessels dilating, a raise in blood pressure and increased breathing, causes irritability, restlessness, insomnia and other emotional disturbances.
  • Caffeine speeds up the production of DHEA, melatonin and other hormones associated with aging. Caffeine also dehydrates the body, contributing to aging of the skin. Wrinkles!
  • Caffeine can cause stomach pain because it's a stimulant.
  • Caffeine causes a rise in blood sugar levels.
  • Caffeine is addictive. Your body develops a physical dependence on it. When removed, caffeine causes withdrawal symptoms like headaches, depressed mood, nausea, body pain and more. (I know what that feels like!).

So what's the verdict? You have to decide if coffee serves your body in a positive way.

When I drink too much coffee, I feel pretty gross. I feel anxious, stressed, sick to my stomach, jittery and irritable. But when I have one or two cups, I feel fine.

I also want you to think about what you put in your coffee. Are you using flavored creamers that contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or lots of sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee? Do you order flavored lattes at coffee shops?

You're adding tons of extra calories to your coffee, which naturally has just a few calories. You're also causing your blood sugar to spike early in the morning, which will cause you to experience an energy crash and likely seek more sugar.

When I want to switch up my usual black coffee, I order it with a splash of coconut or almond milk and a drizzle of honey. If I'm indulging in a seasonal latte, I order it with coconut or almond milk, one pump of syrup, no whip.

My last piece of advice…buy organic fair trade coffee when you can.

Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops when it comes to pesticides. Fair trade means the coffee farmers are making a fair wage from their work. (source)

Source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Do you drink coffee? Would you consider giving it up after learning about the impact on your health?

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