Are you a coffee lover? If so, you’re not alone! Millions of people wake up each and every morning craving stimulants (just think about how many coffee shops there are in your town), and they crave them for a reason.
As a whole, North Americans aren’t sleeping enough, they’re not eating a nutrient rich diet, and their bodies simply aren’t working in an optimal manner due to poor lifestyle choices. It really is no wonder that over 55% of the population drink at least one cup of java on any given day (and most of those people are adding heaps of cream and sugar to make matters worse).
I’ve been faced with the same question week after week from patients: “Provided I don’t abuse coffee, is it okay for me to enjoy one cup a day?” The short answer is that you can enjoy coffee, but it must be in moderation. I usually recommend to my coffee-loving patients they may have a maximum of one cup in the morning. There are a few research proven reasons for this recommendation…
• Coffee is a diuretic and it increases the rate of urination.
When you’re urinating more often due to high coffee consumption, you run the risk of depleting your body of water and essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. To avoid dehydration and electrolyte deficiency, drink an extra-large glass of filtered water in addition to your recommended daily water intake.
• Coffee can interfere with the absorption of important nutrients and overstimulate the body.
It’s important that you don’t consume coffee while you’re eating meals as this can hinder the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and dilute your natural digestive juices that break down food. The result is that you don’t obtain maximum amounts of nutrients from the healthy food you’re eating. Coffee also has the potential to overstimulate the nervous system, increase your heart rate, and alter mental activity, all of which are undesirable symptoms.
• Coffee is a sleep disturber.
Although various amounts of caffeine can affect people quite differently, it’s best not to over-consume caffeine (especially later in the day) as it can disrupt your chances of getting a restful sleep. You should avoid drinking any sort of caffeine at minimum 8 hours before you go to sleep.
Now, for the reasons why YOU CAN enjoy your morning cup of coffee…
• It makes for a great pre-workout energizer.
Many studies have shown that a small intake of caffeine (around 100mg) right before a workout actually enhances athletic performance. This is because coffee stimulates your adrenal glands to pump out epinephrine and norepinephrine (which are energy hormones) and will give you a nice boost of energy to maximize your efforts!
• Coffee contains antioxidants like flavanols and polyphenols.
Would you believe that coffee is actually the leading source of antioxidants in North American diets? Antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage and it’s important to consume adequate amounts to neutralize free radicals in the body.
• You enjoy the beauty of the ritual you’ve created around coffee, and you enjoy every sip.
Life is about enjoyment, and it’s also about keeping everything in moderation. If you don’t see yourself giving up your Sunday morning routine with your loved one which includes a nice Americano and fresh scone, that’s ok. Positive and happy routines do a body good.
Before you go brew yourself a fresh pot…
Keep in mind that there’s a time and place for caffeine consumption, and if you are addicted to the habit or need the buzz to get through the day, you may need to wean off of it slowly. If you’re drinking it in moderation, keep these final tips in mind…
• Buy organic, fair-trade coffee when possible. Conventional coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, so buy organic to reduce your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.
• Try alternatives! A great product with a similar bitter taste to coffee (but without the caffeine) is called Dandy Blend.
• Go a week without it to make sure that coffee consumption is not just a routine or habit that you’ve fallen into. After the week, you may be inclined to reduce your consumption when you notice that you’ve got natural energy in the morning that doesn’t require a boost from caffeine!
Image courtesy of [amenic181] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net