Coffee….The Great Debate
One of the most common questions I get is about coffee. I refer to this as “The Great Coffee Debate”. Clients want to know, is coffee good for me? Can I still drink coffee? Is the coffee I’m drinking harming me? Like most nutrition topics, the science is coming but it’s confusing and sometimes contradicting.
Did you know that at one point the World Health organization classified coffee as a carcinogen? Then just over two decades later they turned around and stated that there was no longer conclusive evidence to support this claim. (This is what I mean about confusing!) The science of nutrition is young and there are studies coming out everyday that state new conclusions and test new theories. The studies on coffee are no different, after all these announcements and proclamations, things changed again about three years ago. It was discovered that during the roasting of coffee beans a chemical called acrylamide is produced and this chemical is a carcinogen (but so far only proven for lab rats).
On the other hand, coffee has been found to have many beneficial properties. It has anti-inflammatory antioxidants which help fight free radicals in the body. These free radicals are naturally produced and can increase during times of stress so we need all the antioxidant support we can get! This is protection against many of the biggest afflictions we hear about like heart issues, memory issues, inflammation problems and even aging itself!
So, how much coffee is the right amount of coffee? This is a bit more difficult to answer. If you have been reading my blogs, you will know that I have a deep belief that we are all biochemically individual. This means that the foods I ingest will affect me differently than those same foods will affect you because the chemical and nutrient levels in my body are slightly different from you based on my individual make up, what I eat, how well I sleep, my stress levels and more. So, each of us needs to listen to our body and look for the signs the body will give if the amount of coffee is too much for our own composition.
I’m sure most everyone reading this has felt the effects of consuming too much caffeine. Regular coffee has caffeine and the more you consume the more severe the symptoms experienced. These symptoms can include (but are not limited to) feeling jittery, increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, anxious feelings and sleeplessness. These side effects are due to the fact that caffeine stimulates the secretion of cortisol, our stress hormone, when consumed. So, figuring out the right level for you means you need to do a little experimentation. For some, no coffee may be the answer, and for others it may mean one cup or two. If you still want a boost but not as much caffeine try green tea which has a bit of caffeine and lots of the great antioxidants that coffee provides, if not more!
There is also decaffeinated coffee. It’s important to know however, that most decaffeinated coffee beans are washed with solvents (chemicals) to remove the caffeine. This is not great for your health either, so I recommend that you look for Swiss Water processed beans as this method uses only water to strip the caffeine. It’s also important to note that decaffeinated coffee is not 100% caffeine free. There is still a small amount of caffeine but it’s minimal compared to the original amount.
Where to start? I never recommend a client stop coffee cold turkey. This does nothing but make the client and everyone who must deal with the client miserable! What I do suggest, is that you start by slowly cutting back each day. If your goal is to cut back to 1-2 cups, then start where you are and take the time you need for your body to adjust. Try simply using smaller and smaller mugs, cut your regular coffee with a little decaf to begin, or simply just cut out one coffee a day keeping track, so you know where you are and that you are moving in the right direction. As I stated above there are also some great alternatives like green tea, black tea, herbal teas (not caffeinated at all), and my all-time favorite beverage, good old water! I mention this because the caffeine in coffee can be dehydrating (it’s a diuretic meaning it makes you pee more!) so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough water!
Want to get even healthier? Are you dealing with a coffee addiction that’s affecting your life? Could you use some support figuring out what foods you could add to your everyday to support your health? Curious about how health coaching can help you make healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!