You are perhaps reading this because you or someone close to you is questioning their coffee reliance and consumption. Statistics and facts from numerous studies regarding caffeine is quite compelling.
The toxicity of caffeine becomes apparent when you try to remove the stimulant from your diet. Common side effects include headaches, fatigue, sleepiness, lethargy, irritability, depression, muscle pain and stiffness but to name a few…
Keeping it simple, drinking coffee has many effects in the body; some good, mostly bad .
The Good and the Bad
- Caffeine, a constituent in coffee, initiates the stress ‘fight or flight’ response , putting our bodies on high alert, ready to take action. This stress response is great if fending off a sabre tooth tiger or wanting to lift a car off and injured pedestrian, not so good sitting at a computer. The stress response also causes the release of cortisol and insulin, causing sugar spikes and the ensuing sugar lows, making you feel lousy.
- Insulin sensitivity decreases, making it difficult for cells to respond to changes in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar levels cause all sorts of issues, including cardiovascular disease, arterial deterioration, higher levels of triglycerides, LDL’s and VLDL’s (for those who have ever had a cholesterol test these are the bad guys.)
- A healthy body has an ideal alkaline blood pH of around 7.3. Coffee is very acidic and sits at about pH 4.7. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive issues including but not limited to heartburn, halitosis (bad breath) GERD, dysbiosis, ulcers, acid reflux, and bloating.
- Coffee is the most chemically treated crop on earth. More than 100 kg of chemical fertilisers are used per acre of coffee being harvested. (organic coffee doesn’t have this problem but most coffee is not organically farmed) and studies have shown more that 1000 chemicals in coffee, not to mention the bleach in the coffee filters, the list goes on….
- Decaffeinated coffee is even worse that regular coffee, and more acidic. Most decaffeinated coffee is processed with methylene chloride and formaldehyde, both known carcinogens.
- Constituents in coffee can interfere with the regular enzymatic processes of the liver, increasing daily metabolic load and detoxification. Liver enzymes are used to break down the constituents in coffee and if the demand is high, the liver becomes sluggish as the major organ of elimination cannot cope.
- Coffee plays havoc with your neuroendocrine system, which encompasses the central nervous system, immune system and hormones. We all know when we are highly stressed we often get sick, – it’s because all body systems are intrinsically linked and every action has many knock on effects in seemingly unrelated areas.
- Caffeine elevates serotonin ‘the happy hormone’. Serotonin release is involved in mood and appetite regulation, which explains the mood enhancing properties of coffee. It also explains why people get crabby when it is withdrawn, as serotonin levels in the short-term drop as your body has to relearn to release serotonin without coffee as the stimulus. Your body quickly adjusts to releasing serotonin without the stimulus and it’s a fabulous feeling being ‘naturally high’.
- GABA, a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in the Central Nervous System, causes relaxation and sleep. GABA is inhibited when coffee is ingested, causing alertness. Many coffee drinkers are often wired, overstimulated and have trouble sleeping due to the inhibition of GABA.
- High caffeine intake also places excess load on your adrenal glands. The adrenals primarily produce adrenaline, a hormone used to regulate stress, as well as suppressing inflammation and regulating blood pressure. We have all heard the term adrenal burnout or adrenal exhaustion, common in those overworked and under extreme stress.
- Drinking coffee adds to the equation by causing more stimulus in an already overstimulated and exhausted a person is under stress, their ability to detoxify even a little caffeine diminishes, which is especially problematic in women who generally have a harder time processing and detoxifying caffeine than men.
- Caffeine diminishes the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients it requires for many of the complex processes it performs. Caffeine can diminish the absorption of iron by up to 50% and decrease the uptake and absorption of water-soluble B vitamins too.
- Daily coffee consumption increases insulin resistance. Insulin helps the body transport glucose into the cells. However, if the cells are less receptive, their job is not performed effectively. Coupled with a typical western diet high in processed sugars and refined carbohydrates (which means more circulating glucose), the need for higher insulin requirements increases. And so the vicious cycle begins. Add stress to the mix and more stimulants like coffee and you have the recipe for a potential metabolic meltdown.
It’s a wise and fruitful experiment to provide yourself a break from coffee and experience what it feels like to live your life on your own fuel. Your body is an amazing machine and can produce wondrous effects if you give it a chance. See for yourself how fantastically energised, clear-headed and ‘naturally high’ you feel with a cleaner, less chemically fuelled body. Or cut back to one well brewed, aromatic coffee in the morning and switch to green tea in the afternoon. Your body will thank you.
Suzie Taylor owns and operates a corporate massage company Australia Wide. The fully qualified and professional therapists have been providing seated massage in the corporate sector for over 18 years.
Reap the rewards of ongoing seated massage and send an enquiry about corporate massage here.