As we are all aware, the pros and cons of coffee is a popular topic of interest with evidence and support on both sides. However, keep in mind that a lot of the health claims are based on regular consumption of coffee, not excessive. Regular consumption meaning 1 maybe 2 small cups a day.
Not many people know that caffeine from coffee beans is actually a natural pesticide, protecting the coffee plant. When caffeine is isolated it can be described as a toxin. However, it is the synergistic relationship between the natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants and bioflavonoids in coffee beans that help counterbalance some of the nasty effects of caffeine (Beware: This is not the same for caffeine found in sodas or other caffeinated energy drinks).
Yes, coffee beans naturally contain antioxidants.
The super antioxidants found in coffee are chlorogenic acids (CGAs). However…antioxidant levels depend on roasting time and temperature (about half of the CGAs in green coffee beans reduce during high-temperature roasting), and on the quality of coffee beans (Arabica beans have lower levels of CGAs than Robusta). So if you are going to have a cup of coffee, be sure to get your hands on good quality! The preferred choice would also be organic beans, which may reduce the amount of pesticide exposure, as coffee trees are one of the many that are heavily sprayed. Article
So what’s the big deal?
How ever you drink your coffee, may it be…espresso, black, double double this, double double that, hold the whip, extra sprinkles… do you ever wonder what it’s really doing to you, other than keeping you from attacking the first person you see in the morning?
- It’s all a trick! You think coffee GIVES you energy, but it actually makes you more tired then you were to begin with! Coffee is a stimulant that works on the nervous system by blocking a brain chemical (adenosine) from naturally slowing down neural activity (making you feel sleepy). By blocking this process, neural activity speeds up and becomes over stimulated. Then the effect begins to wear off and you are feeling extremely tired, even more than you did before you had the coffee. Remember, what goes up…must come down. So the cycle begins!
- Adrenal fatigue. Your brain sends a message to the pituitary gland, which releases a hormone that tells your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones). This gives you that burst of energy. Meaning, you are triggering the same stress response your body uses in fight or flight, like needing to run for your life. Why do we need this extreme stimulation just to “wake up” or function in a normal day? We don’t! There are two things to consider:
- Why is it that you don’t have enough energy in the first place to function every day? Coffee is NOT food. Food’s job is to feed our cells the nutrients necessary for energy production (among other things).
- You have become physically dependent on coffee to the point that instead of one cup to feel the energy you need 5, and you most likely can drink a cup before bed and sleep like a baby, and of course, if you stop drinking it you get serious side effect. Extreme and continuous caffeine consumption forces your adrenal glands to pump out stress hormones again and again, they are burned out… give them a break!
- Don’t be fooled by the poop that you got. Yes, coffee has a laxative effect. NO this does not mean you have super-duper digestion! Coffee does NOT contribute to good digestion! Coffee is a stimulant making everything rush out.
- It stimulates gastric emptying which prematurely allows the food in your stomach pass into your small intestine. This causes undigested food to enter the small intestine and can cause inflammation and gas! The small intestine is where we absorb all of the nutrients from the food we eat. But thanks to the effect of caffeine on the body it is not in rest and digest mode, but in fight and flight mode. Your body wants to empty out quickly, so you can run for your life. Think your small intestine has had enough time to absorb what it needs? Nope. Hello nutrient deficiencies!
- Furthermore, caffeine increases peristalsis (movement of intestinal muscles). Increased peristalsis leaves less time for your colon to do what it needs to do and reabsorb water from the fecal matter to form proper stool. This can lead to the double D’s- Diarrhea and dehydration! With all that said, relying on coffee to go number 2 is NOT the answer.
- Coffee increases the acidity level of your blood. Your body then pulls calcium out of your bones and teeth to buffer acidity. What’s keeping our bones hard and strong then? Risk for osteoporosis, I would say so! Also, the acidity can cause and/or aggravate heartburn.
It is my overall opinion that we can continue to live life happily and energetically without coffee! However, I do hear you…a hot coffee can be like a hug in a mug…so one cup of coffee here and there is no big deal but beware of the dependency stage! Let’s let food do its job. Eating fresh, un-processed, whole foods give our bodies the raw materials for reliable energy!