Health Tip #65

Health Tip 65

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.

Health Tip #37

health-tip-37

Chronic Inflammation is a precursor to degenerative diseases and to us meeting an earlier end.  Chronic inflammation can often be silent, or go unnoticed until symptoms of degenerative disease begin to show themselves.  The best way to offset this tendency toward degeneration is to add in anti-inflammatory foods.  As it turns out, anti-inflammatory foods are the real, whole foods we have been discussing thus far.

Vegetables and Fruits

As we have discussed before, brightly colored fruits and vegetables should cover the majority of your plate at any meal.  We should try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.  Some of the best anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables include berries like blueberries, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale).  When considering brightly colored produce, don’t forget about the anti-inflammatory herbs we discussed in the last post such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.  Fermented vegetables such as kimchee, pickles and sauerkraut should also be considered.  Shiitake mushrooms are also an anti-inflammatory addition as they help to mitigate oxidative stress.

Grains and Legumes

If including grains and legumes in the diet, make sure they are whole, soaked or fermented and properly prepared for proper digestion.  Flour based, processed grains should be avoided.  As we’ve discussed in a previous posts, rather or not gluten is included in the diet should be carefully considered.  If it is included, proper preparation is crucial.  Organic, fermented soybean products such as natto, miso and tempeh can also be added.

Fats

Adding in healthy fats (coconut, avocados, raw nuts, olives, coconut oil, and cold-pressed olive oil) and the elimination of bad fats (highly processed vegetable oils like canola oil, soybean oil, margarine and hydrogenated oils/trans fats) is crucial in the anti-inflammatory diet.

Omega 3 foods such as  cold water, fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and herrings should also be included in an anti-inflammatory diet.

Protein

In general, in our western diets, we tend to eat too much animal protein. A vegetable based diet is best and a little good quality animal protein goes a long way.   If you can, choose wild local seafood, local grass-fed meats and dairy products.

Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Other anti-inflammatory foods to consider in your diet are green tea, tulsi tea, matcha and dark chocolate for their antioxidant content.

Avoid Processed Foods and Sugar

One of the most important things to remember when eating an anti-inflammatory diet is to avoid processed foods, especially those containing processed sugars and bad fats.  Regular consumption of flour based foods and refined sugars should be avoided as insulin resistance leads to chronic inflammation and degenerative disease.