Health Tip #46

health-tip-46

What’s wrong with coffee?

If you depend on coffee to get you going in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up, you could be suffering from adrenal dysregulation.  Caffeine too late in the afternoon can disturb sleep which affects brain health, weight management and our body’s detox and repair.  Coffee is also a diuretic and can be dehydrating, especially if you drink coffee instead of drinking water.  Caffeine can also raise stress hormone levels like cortisol which make us store fat (particularly in our mid section).  Caffeine can also interfere with thyroid medication if taken at the same time.

Benefits of coffee

On the other hand, …recent studies have found that caffeine containing beverage such as tea and coffee have certain health promoting benefits.  Coffee is North Americans #1 source of antioxidants.  This isn’t because coffee is the most highly antioxidant food, but because of the sheer amount of coffee we drink.  Some of the health benefits found include: reduced stroke risk, lower rates of heart disease, lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, lower risk of heart rhythm problems, increased blood flow to blood vessels, lower risk of premature death, lower risk of Parkinson disease, lower risk of heart disease.

One man’s food is another man’s poison

Some experts even tell us caffeine’s effects on the body are not the same for everyone. We all have the gene CYP1A2 which helps break down toxins.  This gene comes in two types, 1A and 1F.  If we have the 1A version of the gene, coffee reduces our risk of heart attack.   But if we have the 1F version, coffee increases our risk of heart attack.

Choose wisely

To receive the benefits from drinking coffee and to minimize the negative side affects experts warn to choose our coffee wisely.

In order to receive health benefits from coffee the quality of the coffee must be considered.  According to Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee, most studies which show that coffee is unhealthy, do not control for the production process behind the coffee. Different processing methods introduce radically different amounts of potent toxins into the coffee.

Asprey asserts, good coffee = good performance. Bad coffee = bad health.

“Clean” coffee needs to have minimal contamination from mycotoxins (mold toxins). Coffee is also one of the most heavily sprayed crops.  Most conventional coffee is contaminated with pesticides.  Ground coffee is also prone to rancidity.  Adding dairy to our coffee can interfere with some of the beneficial effects.  Sugar in our coffee only adds to the likelihood of developing insulin resistance.  White, chlorine bleached coffee filters can leach into our coffee.

Some attributes of a good quality coffee are that it is: tested for mycotoxins, organic, fair-trade, freshly ground (not pre-ground), and dark roast.

Limit coffee intake

Besides the quality of the coffee, Asprey goes on to say:

High amounts of caffeine can cause problems such as decreased insulin sensitivity, impaired brain function, jitters, nervousness, stomach discomfort, and decreased exercise performance. As with any drug, you can overdose. Moderate amounts of coffee will do nothing but good for most people.

Experts suggest limiting our coffee intake to 1 or 2 cups in the morning and switching to green tea in the afternoon.  Coffee should be strictly avoided for pregnant women.  As with coffee, the quality of green tea that we choose should be carefully considered.  Many green teas from China are contaminated with lead.  Japanese green tea is a better choice.  Tea also readily absorbs fluoride from the soil it is grown in which can be a problem for those with thyroid dysregulation.

And as mentioned before, when we need that morning cup of coffee to get us going, we may be dealing with much bigger issues.  Limiting coffee, restoring our adrenals and getting our hormones in balance should be the first line of business.

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