We all love a good cup of coffee don’t we? For most people it’s the very first thing they consume after they wake up. A morning without coffee is for most, definitely not a good morning.
Growing up in The Netherlands, the coffee culture was more an in-house thing. No fancy barista made coffees just a pot of coffee with creamers, milk and sugar on the side. Most cafes had a preset coffee machine. With a simple press of a button you get what you want, no barista skills needed.
When I moved to Australia I discovered a whole new world of coffee. There is an art to it, making a great coffee. The coffee here is, simply put.. The best in the world. But it's not cheap, for about $5 you get a small almond latte. My first ever job in Australia was in a restaurant, bar & cafe. In order to the early mornings in the cafe and late nights in restaurant and bar on not much sleep, this meant that I had to up my intake on coffee drastically. That said, before I moved to Australia I probably drank about 3 coffees a week. That changed to about 3 coffees (double shot) a day!
Luckily for me and the rest of the world, drinking coffee has plenty of health benefits!
Coffee has a bunch of antioxidants that work as little warriors fighting and protecting against the oxidation of free radicals within your body.
Research has shown that moderate amounts of caffeine (2 to 3 cups a day = 2 or 3 shots) can help with diverting from diseases like Alzheimers, dementia and Parkinsons Disease. How?It helps with more efficient communication between the brain and nervous system and therefore helps slow down mental decline that happens with aging.
Coffee also contains magnesium and potassium, which helps your body use insulin to regulate and stabilize your blood sugar levels and therefore reducing your craving for sugary snacks.
Some research has show that coffee can reduce your chance of certain cancers. One study has shown that coffee may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men by 20 %, and endometrial cancer in women by 25 %. The results on other cancers have been inconsistent and need to be researched further.
A moment of relaxation
Apart from what it does in the body, for a lot of people especially in the morning it’s a moment of quiet and time to slowly wake up before the chaos begins. If coffee is consumed in this calm relaxed state it has a total different effect than if it’s consumed in a stressed state of mind. When your body is in a stress state it doesn’t absorb all the nutrients as effectively as it’s getting ready to fight of flight. The energy goes to the limbs, instead of the stomach and intestines so you can get yourself out of this ‘life-threatening’ situation. The other side of this coin is, because the energy is in your limbs, it can help you perform better physically!
But why reduce the amount of caffeine?
I have reduced my intake of coffee back to about 3 to 4 cups a week, for health reasons. So eventhough there are some benefits to drinking coffee, there are definitely some health risks involved as well.
First of all in general people consume often more than the recommended daily intake of caffeine which is no more than 400gr. A single shot of espresso has about 145gr and generally people have 2 shots per 1 cup of coffee. That means that 1,5 cup of coffee is already more the recommended daily intake.
Need that coffee in the morning?
Coffee can be addictive. How it works in the body is that caffeine looks very similar to a molecule called adenosine. When adenosine is released into the body it bind to receptor and creates a feeling tiredness and gets you ready to slow down and go to sleep. When you drink coffee, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptor instead of adenosine. This means that you won't be feeling tired. Over time your body adjusts and creates more adenosine receptors. This means that you need more caffeine to block the extra receptors to not feel tired after consuming a cup of coffee.
The caffeine in coffee also creates dopamine in the body which makes you feel happy and energized. People can start relying on their daily cuppa to give them that feeling.
Caffeine decreases your insulin sensitivity, which can have a positive effect on your weightloss journey. But please do not consume coffee in order to lose weight. There are more efficient and saver ways to control your weight.
How it works is as follows: Your pancreas is your insulin making organ. When it makes insulin it sends this into your bloodstream to collect the sugar or glucose and turn this into fuel to energize your body. If you have a lower sensitivity to insulin your body will make less insulin and therefore more sugar remains in your blood, a higher blood sugar level. This could reduce your cravings for sugary sweets as there is some sugar/energy in your blood.
Caffeine & Type II diabetes
This also has adverse health effects. When you eat a meal, especially if it's a meal heavy on carbs this raises your blood sugar. Carbs are turned into glucose (sugar) into the body. This means that if there is sugar left in your blood (because your body hasn't been able to clear it all out) it means it rises even higher after consuming a meal. A so called 'spike' in blood sugar can cause an energetic high and after that a energetic low. This up and down in your blood sugar can lead to things like Type II diabetes.
Someone with Type II diabetes can't use their insuline efficiently and isn't able to turn their glucose into energy for the body. You tend to then want to eat more carbs or sweets to increase your energy levels. Your body starts producing more and more insulin to keep up with the increases sugar levels in the blood. Over time this wears out your pancreas and it starts to struggle making insulin at all.
By adjusting your lifestyle and lowering the pressure on your pancreas you can lower your risk of Type II diabetes.
Have you ever had a cup of coffee to many and you started feeling anxious and restless?
Like I said earlier, caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor that makes you feel tired. It also activates your adrenals and gets your body in a fight or flight state. Together these can be experienced as stress and anxiousness.
Do you have trouble sleeping?
Insomnia is closely related to regular coffee consumption. Although it might do it's job keeping you awake during the day, it might also keep you awake at night. Ongoing insomnia can lead to depression and other physical ilnesses.
High blood pressure is something you can experience after consuming coffee. Why? Caffeine constricts your arteries slightly, which can increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure might damage your arteries overtime and increase your risk for stroke and heart disease.
Other seeminly more unrelated issues like heart burn and bladder issues can also be related to consuming (too much) coffee.
Like with most things in world, enjoy in moderation.
If you 'd like to know more about reducing your caffeine intake (it's also found in chocolate, tea, and some fruits) living more healthfully or would just like a chat feel free to hit me up with via the messenger chatbox below or book in for a free health consultation!