Today I decided to talk about a subject that can passionate many people, trigger many engaged conversations about the good, the bad, and the definitely savoury. Some people will tell you they could die just to smell the fresh warm odour of a fresh grounded bean of it. Yes, exactly, COFFEE. Oh come on, don’t stop reading now. You don’t want to know if it’s actually bad for you, right? You prefer to deny the truth and go have your cup now. DON’T STOP READING. There are some good things to coffee too :-) at the end, everything is always about balance.
But let’s see more in detail what are the real coffee effects on our body and mind….:
1. THE GOOD
Let’s start with the benefits. Because yes, there are actually some great benefits in drinking coffee :-)
Caffeine is a stimulant that improves brain function and metabolism. It is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It increases the activity in the brain and facilitates the release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. As a consequence:
- it reduces tiredness sensation (but your body is still tired)
- it makes you feel more alert
- it improves your mood
- it improves your reaction time
- it improves your vigilance
- it improves your general cognitive function
- gives a real boost of energy by increasing your heart rate, which improves your blood flow and brings more oxygen to the brain
- contains many antioxidants that help protect the body from ageing process and early disease
- contains many vitamins B, Folate, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
- contains Amino Acids, that increase the “buzz” state after you drink one espresso
- aids Athletic Performance
- helps clear bowels and alleviate constipation
Some tips to fully enjoy those benefits:
- BUY ONLY ORGANIC. This is a MUST. If it’s not, you can be sure that your coffee will be loaded with harmful pesticides, fungicides, etc. And these will erase all potential benefits you could have from it! So be smart. An you know what, coffee lovers? It tastes even better!!
- Don’t add stuff like pasteurized milk, low-fat milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc etc. The only thing you should be adding is good fats like raw unpasteurized grass-fed butter, or organic extra virgin coconut oil. Those good fats will tie up with caffeine and will transform your cup of coffee into a powerful nutrient bomb, keeping your blood sugar levels balanced for a while
- Those good fats will also help you absorb better the amino acids of your coffee (especially the espresso that has much more amino acids than the long coffee, with LESS caffeine. And this is why you get more of a buzz after drinking espresso)
- The machine needs to be cleaned and warmed up
- Ground your coffee yourself! If you don’t, your coffee will quickly lose many of its beneficial nutrients. Use low-speed grinders to avoid damaging the coffee beans
- Drink your coffee within 10 minutes. After that, there won’t be much added benefits to it
- Espresso is the healthiest version of coffee for you (more nutrients, less caffeine and more amino acids). If you like big cups, just add some hot water to it.
- Avoid unfiltered version (Turkish or French press): those contain cafestol, that increases cholesterol levels
But all those benefits come at a cost. The more regularly you drink coffee, the more tolerant you become, and the more you need to increase the dose to get the same benefits. That’s the beginning of the addiction: the mix of tolerance and physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop having it (headache, tiredness, brain fog, irritability….)
2. THE BAD
- As Coffee is a stimulant, it increases all stress functions in your body, which in the long run can be very harmful
- Specially for people with adrenal fatigue: they often think it is a good remedy but actually, it makes them getting worse and worse
- It is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE: as soon as you feel you need larger portions and/or experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have coffee, it means that it became too bad for you
- Even after stopping coffee for a few weeks, your heart rate is still higher than your heart rate before caffeine intake
- It exacerbates panic attacks
- It heightens stress, and therefore suppresses the immune system, making you weaker
- It creates heart palpitations
- It disturbs your sleep cycle
- It upsets the digestive tract: and in order to stop that, your body uses loads of fluids to get it out of the system, which causes dehydration
- If at the beginning it helps alleviate constipation, after a while it actually activates constipation as your body gets addicted and doesn’t know how to function normally without it
- It is very stressful to females hormonal balance, especially at Pre/Post menopause or for anyone with menstrual irregularity
- Coffee is a fungus feeder: so to be avoided for anyone with fungus problems / overgrowth (which actually concerns MANY of us….)
- Coffee is detrimental to sex performance for males, and decreases female sex drive…. So make a choice here people!
- Conventional coffee contains many pesticides, fungicides….. all nasty chemical stuff that won’t make you any good
3. How to know if it is good for you?
So with all of this, how can we know if this is actually doing you more good than harm?
Well, again, it’s about balance and listening to your body. If you feel that:
- You need to increase the dose to have the energy boost
- You experience headaches, weakness, irritability, brain fog, tiredness whenever you don’t have it
- Your brain can’t function properly if you don’t have it
Then it basically means that you are physically addicted to it and that therefore, it is doing you much more harm than good.
Also, if you are already chronically fatigued, stay away from it. It is not going to help you. A good way to start getting off of it is to replace it with green tea, and to never drink any of this (even tea) after 2pm.
If you are pregnant, or stressed, if you have high blood pressure or insomnia: those are other good reasons for you to avoid it. You won’t have any of the good benefits of it.
So at the end, what can you take with you from all of this? Coffee, like many things in nature, can be good for you. With moderation. Only choose good quality, fair-trade, organic grains. Blend them fresh at home. Don't make this ritual a "MUST-HAVE" in your routine, because that is when it starts becoming harmful. From time to time, because it is savoury and tasty and smells amazing, yes, you can have it. But all the time: no. Listen to your body, pick up the signs it is showing to you. If coffee is not good anymore for you, that's ok. Just stop, replace maybe with some green tea, but mid-term, just don't take any stimulant anymore. Let your body recover and heal. And when you are more balanced, you can have one again, but again: from time to time.
Enjoy your Espresso, but most importantly: enjoy your natural life energy, the one you have in you, without the help of any stimulant...
In Health and Happiness