10 September 2012

Coffee: Yes, no or maybe?

To avoid health risks from coffee, choose high quality coffee, preferably organic. (Getty Images)
One of the more common questions I get is "Coffee, is it OK to drink?"

As usual, like everything else in your body, this is a "bell shaped" curve like I wrote about in a previous article.


Well, coffee has well documented, beneficial effects. 

It is an anti-oxidant because it has a group of plant based nutrients called poly-phenols. These have been shown to reduce cancer risks in animal trials (especially liver, and colorectal cancer).

Coffee also has blood sugar lowering benefits, and this helps with diabetes related symptoms. Just a quick side note — adding sugar to the coffee doesn't help at all!

Coffee is also a bitter herb, which has benefits in improving digestive tract health, and has helped quite a few of our clients with constipation.

Finally, coffee shows benefits in improving blood lipid profile, which is good for cardiovascular health. This is quite possibly linked to the point above, about blood sugar management, since high sugar levels from refined carbohydrates tend to play havoc with cholesterol, triglyceride, and c-reactive protein levels.

On the other hand... 

Coffee is also a stimulant that can make blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and osteoporosis worse.

It also increases output from your adrenal (stress) glands. So if you are already having a stressful life overall (work, physical, illness, relational etc) it may make the situation worse.

Also, cheap coffee is also heavily sprayed with pesticides, which increase cancer risk.

So, the take away suggestions...

1. Choose high quality coffee, preferably organic. Not everything is better when its organic. But this article should help you decide which orgainc foods are the best value for your money.

2. Find out your tolerance. Caffeine clearance happens in what is known as "phase 1" of your liver's detoxification process. If you are the kind of person who has trouble relaxing or sleeping despite a long time period since your last coffee, your liver may not be functioning optimally. Increase your liver boosting nutrients — vitamin intake from fruits and veggies, and lean proteins from healthy meats and see what happens.

3. Add cinnamon and cream, instead of milk and sugar. It slows the release of the caffeine, smells great, and increases the blood sugar benefits of coffee.

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By coach_jon | Fit to Post Health – Sun, Sep 9, 2012

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