I love coffee. Filter coffee, espresso, Americano, instant coffee, iced coffee. I love it all. I actually enjoy the taste, and even relish the smell of freshly brewed java.
‘But is coffee good for you?’
That is a question I seem to get asked more and more by the health conscious tribe.
WELL…it depends on who ‘you’ are, and also what kind of ‘coffee’ we’re talking about.
First thing’s first. Let’s talk about some of the attractive benefits coffee possesses.
-It is an antioxidant, which means it combats the pollution created by our cells.
-It is also a well known nootropic (makes you focus and improves your cognitive function).
And here’s where it gets interesting.
A few studies show coffee can be health protective against the development of type 2 diabetes. This could be because the antioxidant compound in coffee can change blood sugar levels. The same compound also encourages the body to transport this sugar to muscles, ready for use (that is why it makes for the BEST pre-workout).
It is also suggested that coffee can also limit the amount of glucose (simplest form of sugar which your body uses as energy) you absorb, which is another reason why drinking the stuff can possibly protect against type 2 diabetes.
Another favourable mechanism of action coffee has on our body’s glucose, is that it seems to raise the levels of an important anti-inflammatory hormone concerned with glucose and fat metabolism called adiponectin.
All sounds amazing so far, right?
Here’s what you also need to know.
Coffee consumption DOES raise stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. While some people’s bodies are efficient in clearing these hormones (the same people who can drink coffee at 4pm and go to sleep as usual), some people have genetic mutations which make it difficult for them to clear/metabolise these hormones, which is not so great for health and can be put some people at risk for hypertension and heart disease. Additionally, we have already talked about the contributions and associations of stress on health.
Another not so great feature of coffee is that it steals and wastes some essential nutrients like iron and vitamin b12. It also decreases absorption of these nutrients.
So, if you know your body is going through a lot of stress (physiologically or psychologically), coffee consumption isn’t really ideal for you.
Here are my personal coffee commandments:
-Go for filtered or ground coffee over instant where possible. Instant coffee tends to contain mould, which can contribute towards health problems like candida, dysbiosis and sibo.
-Stick to 1-2 cups a day (200-400mg). This is the dose research has shown to offer health benefits. Beyond this, the benefits disappear and it becomes counterproductive to health.
-Don’t add shitty things to it like sugary syrups, whipped cream, flavours, artificial creamers etc. Coconut oil, milk, plant based milk, cream, natural sweeteners are great add ons.
-Don’t make coffee your first drink of the day. Let your central nervous system wake up naturally first, drink some water, and THEN make your brew.
-Don’t have coffee with meals, especially if you know you are anaemic (black and tea and coffee should be avoided for you, really!)
-Don’t have coffee past lunch time.
So, in conclusion, if you know you have a propensity to heart palpitations, get stressed easily, don’t settle down from stress easily, have SIBO or any type of gut issues which already imply poor nutrient absorption, anaemia, IBS or IBD, you really need to consider coffee consumption. Is it right for you? Is it ok for you, but in small doses? Maybe it is ok, but not every day?
Learn more about your health profile and each person will have a different answer to whether coffee is good for you or not..
As for me, I am currently enjoying and loving my daily coffees, but I also know when I need to let it go for a while. I’ve gone through months of no coffee and definitely gotten benefits from it. And no surprise, when I do come back, I do feel all the benefits of coffee – particularly when I choose to have it before a weights session 😉