Over the years, coffee has endured both praise and opposition. So the question is….Is it good for you, bad for you, or both?
Coffee is more popular than ever, which contributes to its contradictory status. In moderation, coffee poses minimal health risks for most people. But many now consume coffee in large quantities, which can have detrimental effects on the body.
The Good Side
As with most habits, moderation is the key, and there is no one right answer for every woman. Caffeine helps you feel more awake, at least at first. Brain studies show that it reduces sleepiness, improves alertness, and increases the ability to pay attention.
Feelings of fatigue can be offset by caffeine consumption. When tiredness does set in and you feel less focused, it can help increase your energy levels. There is also good evidence behind the claim that caffeine improves productivity and task performance. An even more intriguing benefit may be its capacity to stimulate positive feelings and perk up your mood.
The Bad Side
Drinking caffeine in moderation won’t cause an issue for most people. Problems occur when we drink coffee all day long and combine it with sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, and chronically elevated stress.
Chronic coffee consumption increases insulin resistance, a situation in which the body cannot effectively deliver glucose into the cells of the body. In this situation, insulin, which helps transport glucose into the cells, cannot do its job well because the body’s cells are less receptive.
This typically occurs with a diet high in refined sugars and starches. Thus, the body must release increasingly larger amounts of insulin to do the job. Like parents tuning out their screaming toddler, the body becomes less and less sensitive to insulin’s effects, which means more circulating glucose, which means more insulin release. And when insulin levels rise, a host of other issues occur like inflammation and weight gain.
The caffeine buzz also prompts your adrenal glands to pump out more of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. If you are already struggling with hormonal imbalance, caffeine might be setting off an additional cascade of hormonal problems. Cortisol production is naturally high in the early morning, because one of its functions is to help you rise and shine for the day.
But, people who chronically stress their adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol change their cortisol concentrations so that it’s low instead of high when they wake up in the morning.
It’s a vicious cycle. And, unfortunately, it’s a cycle that currently occurs in the majority of North Americans. Combine the standard Western diet high in refined carbohydrates with stress and a high caffeine intake, and you have a potential recipe for metabolic disaster.
Have you ever felt that you desperately needed coffee for a pick-me-up? Do you tell people, “I’m a grouch until I get my coffee?” If so, you may be experiencing this situation.
Systems in our body are closely interconnected. Stimulation of one area can have far-reaching effects.
Follow the evidence that your body offers you. Pay attention to how you feel when you drink coffee.
- Do you feel good for a short period, then shaky and irritable?
- Do you get headaches or have withdrawal symptoms when you miss your daily dose?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms I’ve mentioned above, consider bringing a little decaf into your life. The withdrawal symptoms are telling you that your body can’t handle so much caffeine.
If you do indulge, consume less and choose better quality. And be mindful that you don’t load up your coffee with sugar or cream.
Sip your coffee as a special treat, rather than relying on it to keep yourself awake. Savor it! Sniff it. Taste it. Watch the steam rise.
Use coffee drinking as a way to step briefly out of your busy day and into a moment of calm and focus.
DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any diseases. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes ONLY. Please consult with your wellness team, and then make your own well informed decisions based upon what is best for your unique genetics, culture, conditions, and stage of life.