Love coffee but hate the guilt?
Many of us have become attached to our coffee ritual, so hearing that we should cut it out of our diet, is a hard pill to swallow. We begrudgingly stash this unfavourable information in the back of our minds while we continue to justify every sip… even though the joy is somewhat tainted.
So how bad is it? Is the guilt justified?
Caffeine is just one of the herbal constituents found in coffee beans and the beans in and of themselves are not inherently bad. In fact, there are many benefits associated with coffee beans. Coffee is a central nervous system stimulant which helps improve energy, focus the mind, enhance physical performance and even inhibit inflammatory pathways when brewed properly.
Like most things though, we can overdo it.
Caffeine is not a long-term solution as it pushes the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol and stimulates the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Both of these things spike our energy levels short term but inevitably leads to a crash. When our energy levels crash, we crave quick energy sources such as straight sugar, simple carbohydrates, or more stimulants. This cycle of highs and lows can lead to issues with insulin sensitivity, adrenal function, and mood disturbances. We use caffeine to push our bodies to function but are further depleting them while doing so.
Some negative effects of caffeine we may notice:
- Anxiousness, jitters, and irregular heart rhythms (palpitations)
- Sleep issues
- Dehydration, headaches, dizziness
- Adrenal exhaustion
- Heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach
Aside from the caffeine, coffee tends to be very acidic in the body, and often contains many toxic chemicals. Coffee is a crop that is heavily sprayed with pesticides, therefore brewing the beans, condenses and extracts those pesticides (along with the flavour, and nutrients). Coffee is also a diuretic which can cause you to lose more water but with that water, you may also lose many water-soluble vitamins and nutrients. In the end, our daily routines can become really hard on our liver, as it tries to eliminate these toxins while keeping necessary nutrients in our system.
Some simple coffee rules to live by:
- Choose organic coffee beans whenever possible
- Replenish fluids to balance out diuretic effects and help eliminate toxins and wastes
- Eat a balanced diet to maintain blood sugar and nutrient levels
- Avoid adding sweeteners which have an additive effect on blood sugar spikes and crashes
- Drink your coffee with milk or a milk alternative which slows the release of caffeine into the bloodstream. The proteins and healthy fats in almond/coconut/hemp milk bind caffeine molecules and therefore diminish spikes and crashes
- Avoid coffee in the 7-8 hours before you go to bed to allow for a deeper sleep (and eventually diminish the need for as much coffee the next day!)
- Give your body a break sometimes and consider other options instead of that 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cup of coffee. Go outside and take some deep breaths of fresh air, get your circulation going on a quick walk or jog, or have a quick healthy snack
With all these things in mind, when you do have your delicious hot cup of coffee, ENJOY IT! Coffee doesn’t have to be another source of worry or guilt in our daily lives. We just need to be aware of how it is affecting our bodies and make changes when we need to.
— Dr. Brett Simpson, ND
Dr. Brett Simpson loves coffee… and likes to meet her patients where they are. She believes in balance and is happy to create sustainable plans for maintaining good health! To book an appointment with Dr. Brett visit our website at theiv.ca or give us a call at 604-974-8999