CAN COFFEE BE PART OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ?
But I am also keen to help my body feel it's best. So I had to ask the question, Can coffee be part of a healthy diet? This is what I discovered....
Like all good arguments there are 2 sides…
YES - Arguments for …
1 Improves energy and focus
Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, which causes a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function including; memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function
2 Helps burn fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning.
Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11%
3 Can improve physical exertion
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and breaks down body fat, making free fatty acids available as fuel, it also increases epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in your blood; this is the fight-or-flight hormone, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion.
Given these effects, it’s unsurprising that caffeine can improve physical performance by by 11–12%, on average.
Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
4 Can protect against neurodegenerative diseases
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide closely followed by Parkinson's disease.
There are several things you can do to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.
This includes the usual suspects like eating well and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.
Several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and 32–60% lower risk of Parkinson’s
5 Coffee is rich in antioxidants & other nutrients
Coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants. Coffee contains several important nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.
NO - Arguments against ….
1 It can be addictive
I’m sure we’ve all experienced how good coffee is at pulling us out of an early morning or mid-afternoon slump!
If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, it’s possible that over time your body will begin to rely on coffee to function normally. This can be concerning, because you may depend on drinking coffee to stay awake and alert. This dependence on coffee can also make cutting back your caffeine intake a difficult process.
Being aware of how you feel before and after drinking coffee can be a good indicator of how much your body relies on it. It’s always good to be aware of your habits before they turn into ones that are hard to break
2 Coffee can influence nutrient absorption
Did you know drinking coffee may actually have a negative impact on how your body absorbs other nutrients? Research suggests that drinking coffee at the same time as eating a meal may actually interfere with your body’s ability to absorb iron. Iron is an important mineral because it helps to transport oxygen to all of your body’s cells so that they can function. This is so relevant because iron deficiency is very common, especially in women. So, to give your body the best chance of absorbing the iron in your food, it’s generally recommended that you don’t drink coffee at meal times. While this may not affect everyone, if you’re someone who already has low iron levels, coffee’s effect on nutrient absorption is something to be aware of.
3 The extras
Black coffee contains 0 calories, but adding milk and sugar definitely adds up. Drinking ‘lattes’ means that we are consuming extra calories without it adding much nutritional value and if the milk is dairy based it can be mucous forming, hard to digest, lead to inflammation and if it’s not organic be pumped with antibiotics and hormones. (I am not a fan of dairy milk AT ALL!)
4 It can lead to sleep disturbances
Once in the body, caffeine will persist for several hours: it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated. It is best to keep coffee to the morning to avoid it effecting sleep.
5 It can raise cholesterol levels
Two diterpenes found in high amounts in unfiltered coffee, cafestol, and kahweol, have been found to actually raise cholesterol levels. These are the oils in the coffee beans.
If you don’t have optimal cholesterol levels you should consider drinking filtered coffee as it seems that cafestol/kahweol become trapped in the paper filter so don’t raise cholesterol as much.
Final thoughts ….
As with most things in life, with coffee too it is the dose that makes the poison. Keep in mind that having too much coffee won’t turn you into Albert Einstein. In fact, drinking too much coffee can actually cause some people to experience heart palpitations, to feel jittery or find it difficult to focus. The key here is balance. Be aware of the amount of caffeine you’re consuming, so that you don’t go overboard and end up feeling worse.
“Moderate caffeine consumption in healthy, non pregnant adults is not only safe but has been found to increase energy and alertness and enhance physical, motor and cognitive perfomance.” From How not to die, Michael Gregger MD
Please note these same benefits do NOT apply to caffeinated energy and sports drinks.
Buy ORGANIC coffee so that you’re not drinking pesticides and fertilisers.
Green tea, which contains caffeine has many of the same but more benefits. Consider swapping from coffee to green tea (or if you're having more than one coffee at least swap your second for green tea)
Grab my free Complete Gluten-Free Guide, with delicious recipes included!