Is The Effects of Coffee a Friend or Foe?Coffee is the most traded commodity in the world. Many millions of people consume coffee every day – as either a favorite drink - or a daily 'fix' or both. Not many people think about whether it is a health drink or not. Often the traditional naturopathic advice is to keep your coffee consumption to a minimum, and for sure there are times when over stimulation from the effects of coffee is not good for your health. Are there other sides to the story? Could the effects of coffee have it's place as part of a healthy lifestyle?
Some good news about the effects of coffee...Recent research has found new health benefits in drinking ourfavourite brew - Coffee! A study at the University of Southern Florida (USF) has found that coffee drinkers have higher blood levels of a stimulating factor, GCSF*, a substance that protects the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. “Caffeinated coffee provides a natural increase in blood GCSF levels,” said USF neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of the study. “There is a synergistic interaction between caffeine and some mystery component of coffee that provides this beneficial increase in blood GCSF levels.” According to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease“ An increasing body of scientific literature indicates that moderate consumption of coffee decreases the risk of several diseases of aging, including Parkinson’s disease, Type II diabetes and stroke. Just within the last few months, new studies have reported that drinking coffee in moderation may also significantly reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancers”. An article in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association,quotes a study by Dr. Susanna Larsson of the National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Sweden. She found that: “Women who drink more than one cup of coffee per day appear to have a 22 to 25% lower risk ofstroke compared to women who drink less”.
How should you take your coffee?Coffee beans are high in antioxidants. Organic black coffee without sugar, or artificial sweeteners is the best way to drink it. Decaffeinated coffee leaves just enough caffeine to combine with the mystery compound and so it has some of the health benefits of regular coffee. (Make sure you drink only decaffeinated coffee produced with the water/steam method, not chemicals.)
How much coffee should you drink?This is a tricky one since both people and coffee strength vary but in the literature 2-3 cups per day is mentioned as the ‘therapeutic level’. What happens if you drink too much coffee?
- Too much can make you feel jittery
- Drinking coffee too late in the day may interfere with your sleep patterns
- Coffee is a diuretic, so make sure you drink enough good quality water to make up for any excess lost of fluids
- Watch out if you have kidney or bladder problems for the same reason
- Coffee is an adrenal stimulant; it’s what makes it so desirable for many people. This means that it can overwork your adrenal glands, causing them to produce too much adrenaline and can lead to adrenal exhaustion, lowering another adrenal hormone, cortisol. You will thenfeel extremely tired and not be able to cope with stress