5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID (OR MINIMIZE) COFFEE
I know, I know. There are at least a million articles on the web telling you the benefits of coffee and another million on the harms of it. While some aspects of coffee can be harmful to your health, I’m sure there are some aspects that are beneficial; and since coffee is such a beloved pastime of society, emphasizing the good aspects tends to sit much better with people. Well, sorry, that’s not what this article is about.
As a strictly herbal-tea sipper and non-coffee drinker I can’t speak to the addiction of coffee, nor the social aspects of it; or even the delightful smell of it (actually that one I do get). I can only speak on the aspects of coffee that can affect your health, so that’s what this is all about.
HOW COFFEE AFFECTS YOUR BODY
IT STRESSES YOU OUT
Coffee stresses your adrenal glands, which are responsible for creating hormones like cortisol (the stress hormone), adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen, any many more. When they are overworked, your body can exhibit stress symptoms like exhaustion, nervous energy, irritability and sleep-related problems like insomnia. In other words, coffee can stress you out.
IF YOU LOVE COFFEE TOO MUCH TO GIVE IT UP: To support your adrenals, eat a healthy diet high in B vitamins like dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
IT CAN MAKE YOU FAT
Caffeine (as found in coffee) raises cortisol levels, and cortisol has a tendency to signal fat to be deposited in your abdominal area (a.k.a belly fat). So if you want to lose weight, replacing that morning coffee with water or herbal tea is a good first step.
IF YOU’RE NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE TO CAFFEINE: Alternatively, get lots of exercise. Exercise blocks the effects of cortisol. Yay, a happier you!
IT CAN GIVE YOU SHAKY HANDS
Coffee has a diuretic effect (causes you to excrete water), and can flush magnesium out of your system. Magnesium is extremely important for the function of your heart and preventing tooth decay. Deficiencies of magnesium can result in muscle tremors, nausea, and cravings for chocolate. If you ever get shaky hands after drinking coffee that’s a good indication your magnesium stores have been depleted. Caffeine will also leach calcium from the bones, causing it to be lost in the urine.
IF THAT CUP OF COFFEE IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR DAY: To avoid a deficiency, eat a diet high in fresh vegetables to keep your magnesium levels sustained, or take a calcium/magnesium supplement.
IT DEHYDRATES YOU
Because of coffee’s diuretic effect it can actually cause you to excrete more water than it contains, upsetting your water balance. This can lead to dehydration and cause problems like constipation and dry skin.
IF COFFEE IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN START THE DAY: Increase your intake of water. Aim to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and drink an additional cup of water for each cup of coffee you drink.
IT CAN MAKE YOUR BOWELS UNHAPPY
Caffeine has a laxative effect which can irritate your digestive tract, increasing the pain and intensity of certain conditions like colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
IF YOU’VE TRIED TO GIVE UP COFFEE… AND FAILED: Try again. If you have a bowel condition or major digestive problem you really want to eliminate caffeine from your diet. Sorry. (This includes all forms of caffeine including non-herbal tea, green tea, chocolate, and most energy drinks.)
I wish those were all the potential problems associated with coffee/caffeine, but sadly they’re not. I’m not going to list everything here though, as it can get a bit overwhelming. If you’re curious, do a bit of research yourself.
I’m not telling you to stop drinking coffee. That’s your decision and it always will be. I’m just here to keep you informed. You alone are responsible for your health; thus, the decision is yours.
If you want to switch off your regular high consumption of coffee, don’t go cold turkey. Caffeine is physically addictive; manipulating the same neurochemical channels that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin do, and withdrawal can cause nasty symptoms. Cut down gradually and you’ll have a much easier time.
Elson Haas, Buck Levin. Staying Healthy with Nutrition.
New York: TenSpeed Press, 2006. Print.
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and should not be considered any type of medical advice. The information provided in this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health condition or disease, and should not be substituted for professional care. Every human is biochemically different and what works for one person may not work for another. If you suspect or have a medical condition, consult an appropriate health care provider.