Could Coffee Be Considered a Health Food? 

If you are like 64% of the world, the only real way you function in the morning is by starting with a good cup of java. Yes, the world truly does run on coffee. If you happen to drive by a Tim Hortons or Starbucks line up, you’ll see the caffeine addicts impatiently waiting to get their fix. We don’t blame you. The smell and taste of coffee alone is enough to lure the average user into a lifelong relationship with their coffee habit. 

If you’ve ever been tired and depended on your coffee for survival that day, you probably know how dangerous a cup can be when it turns you into an anxious and burnt-out mess. 

The truth we all know and like to ignore– the caffeine in the actual coffee is addictive, and your brain forms a dependency on it over time. Often steady coffee drinkers will go through uncomfortable withdrawals from breaking their caffeine-dependence habit if they ever choose to that is. If you have ever quit cold turkey you're probably familiar with the headaches, mental fuzziness, and fatigue that lasts a few days. 

On the other hand, we have plenty of scientific evidence to prove that caffeine, in moderate doses, can provide some real benefits in terms of our health. You can cheer up a bit now, coffee lover; you may not have to give up your habit for good. 

The Bad 

In the past, studies have shown that coffee consumption in large quantities can lead to an increased rate of heart disease, increased blood pressure, decrease bone density, decreased sleep quality as well as contribute to digestive issues. Coffee is highly acidic and can cause acid reflux or heartburn, its an irritant to the gastrointestinal lining. 

Coffee takes about 6 hours to leave your system, so most of your consumption should be done at least 6 hours before you plan to go to bed so that it will not disrupt your sleep cycle. Often people use coffee for energy, but did you know that it could actually be making your body’s own natural energy decrease over time? If you suffer from adrenal fatigue and the dysregulation of cortisol in your body, coffee just isn’t your friend. You are overstimulating your endocrine glands that produce adrenaline, which likely leaves you feeling sluggish and tired. 

The caffeine from coffee can also be inflammatory as it raises other substances, such as homocysteine which causes the inflammatory response. 

Not to mention, most of the coffee we are drinking that is mass-produced has often been sprayed with dangerous pesticides to increase the yield in crops, but what does that mean for us? It means with every cup you’re getting a micro dosage of neurotoxins and chemicals that have no business being in our bodies. If you drink between 1-3 cups a day, on average, you’re exposing yourself to tons of different pesticides or even potential moulds without knowing it. This is the sad reality behind our modern farming methods in general, but recently there have been many more cafes and local shops offering organic options or small-batch beans.

The Good

On the other hand, studies have also shown that moderate coffee consumption (defined as 300mg of caffeine) can boost memory, improve concentration and reduce your chances of developing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

Caffeine can block the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. What does this mean for our brains? It means that there is an increase in the neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine making you happier and more alert. 

Coffee beans are rich in antioxidants, and this can be great for neutralising free radical damage in the body and supporting cardiovascular function. 

Summing it All Up

If you’ve stuck around this long, I’m here to tell you that you may not have to give up your dear coffee for good. Mindfully consuming your warm brew is the key to having a healthier relationship between coffee and your health. We recommend eating a meal with both healthy fats and fibre before consuming your coffee so that your blood sugar is balanced and the rush of cortisol does not upset your natural cycle as it would if you are on an empty stomach. 

The second recommendation is to cut back to 1-2 cups a day. Try to have these no later than 4 pm to reduce the harmful effects on your sleep cycle. Start by cutting back one cup at a time each week. There is also a coffee alternative called Dandy Blend that can be a great tasty and healthy substitute when you’re trying to make the switch. 

Increase your water intake, as coffee can dehydrate our body by up to 2 cups. Support your adrenals through B vitamins and minerals, which can come from more nutritious food choices or supplements. 

Last but not least, if you’re really stuck on your love for coffee, try buying organic beans from local sources or sustainably farmed companies. At the Roasted Nut Company, we use ethically sourced beans from our local supplier Pilot Coffee. Stop by our shop for a fresh cup or head to our website to purchase your own. 

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