As a naturopathic doctor we are supposed to live what we preach and sadly, in regards to coffee consumption, I am a bit of a hypocrite. The naturopathic profession always spoke about how bad coffee was for a persons health. I write this post not only for the health conscious reader, but also for myself as I try to kick this habit. As with all addictions - education is needed to create awareness that eventually will lead to a change. Hopefully this post will help us stop drinking coffee – which we love (cause its so tasty) -- but which apparently is not very healthy---here's why:
What is it about Coffee that makes it so desirable?
Coffee contains Caffeine. We all know that it is an addictive substance, that is not news. But what we don’t talk about is how it is a potentially toxic drug. Caffeine is in coffee, green tea, black tea, chocolate, coke and other soft drinks. The average cup of drop coffee contains 136 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Three cups per day (my latest average) means one is consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine – twice the amount considered a large drug dose. A five minute steeped black tea has between 40-100mg. Coca has 45mg.
Why is Caffeine/Coffee Bad?
Although research has not always been consistent, caffeine has been implicated as a definite or contributing factor in:
· Reactive hypoglycemia
· Panic attacks
· Fibrocystic breast changes
· Impaired fertility
· Cardiac arrhythmias
· Acid reflux
As can be acertained from the above list, coffee is not a good choice for people who have with these concerns or anyone trying to avoid the their development.
Aside from the disease states it can exacerbate or cause, caffeine in coffee causes a host of other problems.
Depletes Magnesium: Caffeine has been noted to block Magnesium from being absorbed in the body, which is a critical mineral involved in relaxing muscles – so you may end up with body aches and pains as a heavy coffee drinker. Note that the Fibromyalgia patients have 20% less magnesium to begin with, so coffee is a really bad idea for people suffering from Fibromyalgia.
Depletes B vitamins: Most common is B1 – responsible for energy metabolism, protein synthesis and nervous system function. Deficiency leads to fatigue, and headaches.
Pesticides: Yes it is unfortunate but true. Growers of coffee use more pesticides on coffee plants than on any other crop.
Nitrosamines: These naturally occurring substances in coffee are the same carcinogens found in bacon and other cured meats.
Trans Fats: The roasting process that brings out coffee aroma converts the oils in coffee to dangerous trans fats.
Dehydration: Caffeine is a diuretic. For each cup of coffee you drink you lose a cup of water. You are not getting any water intake. Think about it.
Adrenal exhaustion: Not feeling the buzz from coffee anymore? You could have adrenal exhaustion. With just 100–200 mg of caffeine (one short cup of drip coffee), your Adrenals begin pumping out stress hormones — epinephrine (aka adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. This is what enables you to get the boost...but the downside is that overuse of coffee will actually burn out the adrenal gland such that it can not longer make enough of these hormones...and hence you begin to need more and more coffee to have the same effect. In other words...eventually coffee will begin to make you feel MORE tired.
Suppressing Optimal Digestive Functioning: The response of the body to coffee is to NOT "rest and digest" but to shunt blood away from the stomach. Eating food while drinking coffee is therefore not a good idea. Food left in the stomach will ferment, putrify and turn rancid. Nutrients and mineral will not be absorbed.
Acidic: The acidic nature of coffee will over time kill a lot of the healthy bacteria in your stomach. Health problems associated with decreased good bacteria are: acne, constipation, diarrhea, recurring colds and flu’s, colitis, IBS, and fibromyalgia.
Blood Sugar Chaos: Caffeine makes blood sugar levels rise and makes the body release insulin to normalize these effects. This increase in blood sugar is further worsened by adding sugar and milk to your coffee. What happens is that the sugars are rapidly removed from the blood into the cells via the insulin but you are left more sugar deficient in the blood (reactive hypoglycemia) than you started before drinking the coffee....and then you crave more sugar and feel tired shortly after your cup of Joe.
Other bad influences: Temporary stiffening of arteries and mixed effects on short term memory.
What about decaf?
Decaffeinated coffee may contain (depending on the solvent used in the chemical process) a high concentration of tricholoethylene, a potent liver carcinogen. Not good. But you just need to do a bit of research to see which solvent your brand uses.
Is there good news about caffeine?
It is an antioxidant. It also is associated with reduced incidence of certain chronic diseases, namely gallbladder disease, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes. But green tea has the same effect (at least on reducing the incidence of acquiring diabetes) with much less caffeine and a much wider variety of bioflavnoids, antioxidents and anti cancer properties.
Start the process of kicking you caffeine addiction with Green Tea or Herbal Teas. Drink a lot of Water.
What healthy alternatives can I use for improving energy?
There are a lot of healthier ways to support energy production in the body. Diet, nutrition, exercise, certain vitamins and herbs can help you safely support the body as it tries to cope with the rigors and stresses of work and life demands. Adrenal support is a must for everyone who is under stress. Call 054-427-8667 today to book an appointment to get your custom-tailored Stress Support and Energy Boosting Treatment!
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. He also practices in Ramat Eshkol, and Beit Hakerem. He has focus in the treatment of Digestive Disorders, Food and Environmental Allergy Testing, Fertility and Women's Health, Chronic Pain/Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Weight Loss. For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drnerman.com. To book a visit call 054-427-8667.