Is Coffee Good or Bad For Your Health?
Have you ever joked about how you or other people you know can't start the workday without a cup of coffee?
As a non-coffee drinker, it didn't dawn on me until recently that one of the reasons my colleagues walked and talked so much faster than I was because they were high on drugs in a mug... a.k.a. coffee.
Something many people can't give up, according to the British Coffee Association, coffee has become the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed a day.
But the question is, even though it's normal, is it good for you?
There's so much controversial evidence on this. To bust the myths and give you clarity on whether coffee is good or bad for you, I've broken down the scientifically proven benefits, side effects and how to know if you're harming yourself.
The benefits of drinking coffee:
#1 -You'll be more alert at work - Having 3 cups of coffee a day (which is typically 250 milligrams of caffeine) stimulates alertness and improves your mental performance #2 -You may feel happier and more sociable - Reports suggest having 3 cups a day can improve your sense of wellbeing and sociability
#3 -You'll concentrate longer - Caffeine can increase your ability to perform cognitive tasks longer
#4 - You'll have a better workout - Your muscles use glycogen for energy when you're exercising. Once your glycogen levels deplete, exhaustion sets in. Caffeine reportedly decreases the use of glycogen stores by up to 50% allowing for longer workouts
#5 - You'll burn fat and sugar more effectively - Caffeine stimulates muscles to burn fat and sugar more efficiently
#6 - You'll have more antioxidants and vitamins in your body - The average person who eats a typical Western diet (i.e. not eating fruit and vegetables with every meal) often gets their greatest source of vitamins and antioxidants in coffee. It has Vitamin B2, B5, B1, B3, Folate, Manganese, Potassium, and Phosphorous. Drink it multiple times a day and you'll increase your intake of these amazing nutrients
#7 - You could prevent some diseases - Caffeine keeps your dopamine molecules active. As dopamine molecules are essentially chemicals that transmit signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain, researchers found that men who drink four cups of caffeinated coffee a day are half as likely to develop Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's as those who refrain from consuming caffeinated beverages
The dark side of drinking coffee:
#1 - You'll get exhausted - Caffeine can over pump your adrenal glands. These glands help the body control blood sugar, burn protein and fat, and react to stressors like a major illness or injury. When these glands are overworked, they become exhausted and can cause your body to lose it's ability metabolise food and heal itself by itself.
#2 - You'll be more stressed - Caffeine increases stress hormones and elevates one’s perception of stress.
#3 - You may be more irritable, restless, and struggle to sleep – When more than 2 grams of caffeine enters the body, the heart becomes stimulated, blood pressure increases causing rapid breathing. These physiological reactions tend to cause irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and agitation.
#4 - You'll age faster - Caffeine speeds up the decline of your vital hormones as you age. It also dehydrates the body, contributes to aging of the skin and kidneys, inhibits DNA repair, and slows the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins.
#5 - You could have nutritional deficiencies - Drinking coffee with meals inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes you to excrete calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals through urine.
#6 - You could develop gastrointestinal problems - Because it’s a stimulant, caffeine can cause increased contractions of your stomach muscles – possibly causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increased bowel movements. Those who have irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or colitis may want to be extra cautious before choosing caffeinated beverages.
#7 - You can increase your chances of infertility - Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes are all exacerbated by caffeine consumption. Women on birth control pills are particularly at risk since they tend to have a decreased ability to detoxify caffeine.
With so many benefits and so many side effects you'd rather not have, the big question I've been asked is - Is it okay for me to drink coffee or shall I cut it out of my diet?
Some experts say people are best served cutting coffee completely out of their diet, while others disagree and say its good for you in moderation. My view is it depends on whether your body can tolerate it.
Some people can feel great on just 1 cup of coffee, while others feel on their A game if they have 6. The trick is to figure out what amount is right for you.
An easy way to do discover this is to ask yourself if you suffer from any of the following symptoms that come with drinking too much coffee.
Have cravings for salt, sweets, and carbs?
Have excessive mood responses after eating carbohydrates like pasta, breads, and sugar?
Feel tired but wired so struggle to sleep?
Have sensitivity to light or sleeping at night?
Have dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation?
Have a low sex drive?
Feel dizzy sometimes?
Feel light headed when you stand up?
Suffer from heart palpitations?
Have a low stamina for stress and get easily irritated?
Have chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast)?
Have thyroid issues?
Have dark under eye circles under the eyes?
Seem to be prematurely ageing?
Sweat excessively from little activity?
Have muscle twitches?
Have Cystic breasts?
Have low blood pressure?
Lower back pain and/or knee weakness or pain?
Have a tendency to startle easily?
If you answered yes to many of these questions, you may want to cut back on caffeine.
Don’t stress if you can’t kick your caffeine habit. Here are a few suggestions to help you kick it to the curb.
If you love drinking coffee for the energy rush... Try drinking teas instead. Teas like green tea have less caffeine than coffee and come with additional superfood nutrients that can improve your health. You can also snack on naturally energising foods such as a banana, avocado on rye bread, mini carrot pizza or green smoothies. Try to get 7 - 9 hours sleep. The higher your quality of sleep, the less dependent you'll be on extra sources of energy.
If you love the smell or taste of coffee... Slowly try and transition from decaffeinated coffee to decaf coffee. Also try swapping one of your cups of coffee for another herbal tea that tastes or smells even better.
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