Our take on the latest Coffee findings – good or bad? You decide.

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Every week there seems to be a new verdict on coffee’s negatives and positives. Bondi Beauty investigates.

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A long black – the ultimate caffeine hit.

A latte, cappuccino, long black or what ‘wakes you up’ in the morning may be how you best know your coffee, but is it good or bad for you? How does it impact your health? Bondi Beauty takes a closer look.

 By Nutrition Expert, Lolita Walters

What exactly is coffee?

It is a drink brewed from the roasted seeds extracted from the berries that grow on evergreen shrubs and small trees of the genus Coffea. First cultivated in southern Arabia. Coffee drinking is believed to have began in the mid 15th century and today is one of the most popular beverages around the globe.

 What effect does coffee have on my health?

 While recent studies from Harvard suggest that regular drinkers are not lowering their mortality by downing up to six cups of coffee a day, this doesn’t mean it isn’t jeopardising your quality of health in other ways.

Coffee is very acidic, meaning it exhausts beneficial alkaline minerals in your body that are needed for optimum health. Since it is a stimulant, the adrenals get overworked as they are constantly being stimulated by the effects of the drug caffeine. Drinking a cup of coffee will initiate uncontrolled neuron firing in your brain, according to Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine Blues. This triggers the pituitary gland to secrete a hormone that in turn leads to the adrenal glands producing excess adrenalin – the ‘flight or fight’ hormone. That is why coffee consumers get that rush, however once the artificial high wears off, exhaustion follows with a low slump.

This results in unstable energy levels and often leaves the consumer reaching for a second cup or a sugary alternative to pick up their energy again. The constant artificial stimulation can at worst lead to adrenal exhaustion as the body builds up a tolerance to the effects of coffee, just as Ralph T. Golan, ND says, ‘Some people reach the point of drinking half a dozen or more cups of coffee to get the same result and it’s barely keeping them awake. That’s severe adrenal depletion.’ More and more must be consumed and this keeps forcing the adrenals to secrete when they have all but a drop left to give. This can cause fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, sleep problems, irritability and depression.

‘But I love my coffee!’ you are most probably crying. Well, it’s not all dark and gloomy news. Firstly, coffee contains more than just the caffeine it’s famous for. It is also high in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals. In many cultures, sharing coffee is a social activity too, which is positive for our happiness!  Other research suggests that consuming coffee may help prevent against Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and lower the risk or certain cancers, however further studies need to be done in these areas. If you want to continue drinking coffee, the key is certainly quality and moderation. You don’t need to give up coffee to be healthy, you just need to be mindful in the way you drink it.

 10 Tips for Healthier Coffee Consumption

  1. Chose organic varieties to avoid nasty chemicals that will place a greater burden on your liver.
  2. Preferably just have one cup in the morning.
  3. Consume coffee with a healthy low glycemic meal that contains complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. This will help prevent a total slump in energy by providing your body with slow release of real energy from your food.
  4. Don’t add empty calories and nasties to your coffee in the form of sugar, syrups and creamers. If you want it sweet, chose a small amount of coconut sugar, brown rice syrup or stevia instead.
  5. If you take your coffee with milk, your best options are full cream organic dairy (if you tolerate it), goat milk, or non-dairy almond or coconut varieties.
  6. Make sure you don’t drink it too close to bed, as this will disrupt the natural cycles of the body and is likely to cause sleep disturbances.
  7. Brew your coffee using a paper filter as this removes a substance called cafestol that is a potent stimulator of the bad LDL cholesterol in the body.
  8. Always include plenty of water to stay hydrated! Coffee is a diuretic so it dehydrates you. Aim for two cups of water for every cup of coffee you drink, in addition to your usual 2-3 litres a day (depending on how active you are).
  9. Look after your liver. Since coffee does place a burden on your liver, it’s good to support it by taking liver detoxifying herbs such as milk thistle, nettle, turmeric and burdock root.
  10. Ensure a balanced diet rich in vegetables, especially dark leafy greens! This will help keep your body alkaline rather than it becoming too acidic. Lower sugar fruits are also great – lemons, berries, green apples and kiwifruit.

 When not to have coffee

If you suffer from any of the following, it is best to avoid drinking coffee as it can exacerbate or contribute to them: anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure problems, malnutrition, fatigue, digestive upsets and other emotional disorders.

www.thehealthchick.com.au

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