October 26, 2015

Coffee is considered the most common beverage enjoyed in America, and it is also one of the most popular drinks in the world. Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans from the Coffea plant. These are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions.

As popular as coffee is, the question remains: Is coffee really good for us? This is a very controversial subject that we will look into it today.

Coffee Pros

The effect of coffee on human health has been a subject of many studies and results have varied in terms of coffee’s relative benefits. However, the majority of recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults. These studies claim that coffee may help protect our brain in old age, leading to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers are up to 23-67% less likely to become diabetic. In one Harvard study from 2011, people who drank the most coffee had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed, and some studies have shown that coffee drinkers live longer. Yet, 20 to 30 years ago, neither coffee nor chocolate could be found in health food stores, because it was not considered healthy and had certain detrimental effects on health.

Coffee Cons

There are several detrimental effects of coffee, the main one being its high caffeine content. Caffeine is a stimulant and is considered a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even exacerbate panic attacks. The caffeine in coffee can also be diuretic and increase one’s blood pressure. As a drug, it can be addictive, and when consumed regularly, one can become tolerant to it. Then it stops working as it used to, and a larger dose is needed to get the same effects.

When people abstain from caffeine, they can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability, which can last for a few days. Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction.

Weakens the Adrenals 

Many individuals suffer from chronic adrenal fatigue. Our adrenal glands are considered THE stress glands. They produces the fight or flight response to stress, and can suffer from fatigue. Most clients that I test have some degree of adrenal weakness and exhaustion. In the book, Adrenal Fatigue, the author, James Wilson, strongly recommends NOT consuming any type of caffeine because of how detrimental it is to the adrenal glands. Coffee is like whipping an over-worked horse. The horse needs some rest, and there will come a day when no matter how much it is whipped, it just won’t move. The same is true with our adrenal glands, we can stimulate them with coffee to get ourself going, but if we do not allow ourself to heal and rest, some day, our adrenal glands will not function well. We will get sick and tired, with little zest for life.  

Detrimental to Intestinal health  

For IBD and anyone with intestinal issues, coffee is a BIG no, no. Caffeine stimulates the digestive tract to overactivity, which is certainly not needed for those with excessive bowel movements. But even for the average person, coffee can at first bring about good bowel movements, but then it tends to cause constipation, or a dependency on it in order to move the bowels.  

Another problem is that coffee has a negative impact on GABA metabolism. GABA is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain and digestive tract that is responsible for mood and stress management, and is known to have a calming effect on the GI tract. Caffeine has been found to interfere with the binding of GABA to GABA receptors. In the book, The IBD Healing Plan by Christie A. Korth, the effects of coffee are further explained.

Caffeine increases the body’s production of stress hormones  . . .  Because caffeine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, drinking it puts your digestive system in a state of emergency. In an effort to purge it from the body, blood is diverted from the digestive system causing indigestion. If that wasn’t enough, the brain then blocks oxygen from the extremities in a effort to “protect” them, and the immune system becomes depressed. This reaction can eventually cause your body to become more susceptible to infections and can slow down healing time. [p.97]

Hinders magnesium absorption Caffeine also affects the way our body metabolizes magnesium, thus decreasing magnesium absorption. This vital mineral is essential for over 300 different chemical reactions in the body, such as: maintaining energy, relaxation, bowel regularity, helps resolve constipation, crucial in wound healing, sustains the health of the heart and blood vessels, helps sleep, and more.

Other Cons 

  • Coffee is also a strong pro-oxidant, which greatly increases oxidation within the cell. This means that we will age much faster.
  • Coffee can disrupt sleep.
  • When it is roasted and ground the oils become rancid.
  • It is also believed that diterpenes in coffee may increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Coffee is acidic (pH 5.0–5.1) 

In conclusion, being that there are so many detrimental effects to coffee, it causes me to wonder who funded the recent studies that give such credence to coffee! 

Want a delicious alternative to coffee? Try our Good Morning Brew. You’ll love it!

We’re here to help you!

Amy Willis, Your Local Herbalist