Many people have a love love relationship with coffee, and to suggest cutting the stuff out of your diet is often met with expletives and furor. I agree that there is something seductively good about drinking a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, but unfortunately our bodies’ don’t share the love affair. Too much coffee can create wired yet exhausted, jittery and anxious, sleep deprived beings.
There are many health claims that suggest regular coffee ingestion decreases your susceptibility to type II diabetes, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. However there are equally as many statistics suggesting the side effects outweigh the supposed benefits of consuming coffee regularly throughout the day.
With so many conflicting articles, it’s difficult to figure out what to believe. Hopefully this blog can make things a little easier for you to choose the best options for you and your body, everyday.
Coffee is extremely acidic, sitting at about pH 4. Our bodies function optimally between pH 7.3 – 7.45 which is alkaline. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to self regulate pH levels with the help of fabulous mechanisms including buffers, and renal and respiratory regulators. However, one of the ways these buffers balance pH is to pull calcium from teeth and bones, making us more susceptible to osteoporosis, other calcium displacement issues and acidosis.
Coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on earth. Unfortunately many international growers have reverted back to non-organic coffee bean farming practices due to increased costs and lower yields. Many chemicals and pesticides used by farmers are fat-soluble which means our livers have a hard time breaking them down to be excreted by the body. The result is many of those harmful chemicals are stored in our fat cells as a protective mechanism. Is all that non-organic pesticide laden coffee contributing to the reason we are all getting fatter, as well as contributing to myriad chronic health concerns that plague our population?
Coffee and caffeine place enormous load on many necessary pathways that allow our bodies to function properly.
1. Caffeine stimulates adrenaline, which is our stress hormone. Adrenaline is for acute situations, and is not designed for sustained stimulus and release. The long term result is adrenal exhaustion.
2. When your adrenal glands no longer function properly, you body searches for a replacement hormone – progesterone (yes men have this hormone too). Progesterone and oestrogen work in unison. However if progesterone is used up in other areas, our bodies become oestrogen dominant. In women oestrogen dominant symptoms include weight gain and terrible monthly cycles.
3. Caffeine also interferes with Insulin sensitivity making it difficult for cells to regulate blood sugar.
4. Serotonin (the happy hormone), levels in urine elevates in coffee drinkers. This indicates possible lower serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for great sleep, mood and energy levels. Caffeine can disrupt sleep and increase depressive and anxiety tendencies. Do you wake between 2 and 3am every night? According to TCM that’s your liver working overtime trying to process that excess metabolic load.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency.
Coffee interferes with your bodies’ ability to absorb folate, and many B vitamins. It can also diminish the bodies’ ability to absorb iron by up to 50%. Whilst absorption of key nutrients is problematic, coffee also increases the excretion of calcium, magnesium and potassium, all essential nutrients required daily for optimal health.
What to do? I don’t advocate removing coffee completely overnight because the withdrawal can be similar to withdrawing from other highly addictive drugs. However I do recommend you stop drinking coffee from midday, starting today. One or two in the morning, and switch to green tea in the afternoon. A simple switch with lasting overall benefit. I also suggest organic coffee for obvious reasons.
A great alternative to coffee is green or white tea. They both contain caffeine but in a less acidic form. (Read my blog ‘caffeine in coffee vs. tea’ for more information) Green and white tea still provides an alert and energised feeling, but in a slower, more sustained way.
Suzie Taylor has been involved in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years and follows the mantras ‘fresh is best’ and ‘moderation is key’. Every little thing helps and contributes to the bigger picture of creating a healthier you.”