Often when people hear about Nutritional Therapy or setting health goals they instantly think of restriction – what they need to give up, how they need to punish themselves in the gym and deprive themselves in the kitchen
I ALWAYS urge clients to switch their mindset here and think instead about what’s missing from their diet or lifestyle and what they need to add. Whether it’s adding in some extra veg, better hydration, healthier snacks or some extra movement – the focus gives less attention to what you are giving up. .
But sometimes there’s something you’re not willing to live without – Recently I was asked to trial a 14day Detox for @tailoredhealthclinic – Part of this detox involved giving up several foods to give my body and detox pathways some respite (gluten, dairy, sugar, nightshades, alcohol, processed foods, eggs etc) Whilst this wasn’t too difficult, I also had to give up coffee….
Now whilst I don’t think being dependent on a substance is all that healthy – coffee for me is so much more than a caffeine fix. It’s a ritual, it’s a joy. My one (or sometimes two) coffees a day are a part of my diet that I’m happy with and here’s why…
Research shows coffee consumption is linked to lowering the risk of various health outcomes (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s) and show favourable profiles in key metabolic and inflammatory pathways. A decent* coffee (and by decent I don’t mean an instant or highly processed blend) contains over 1000 health promoting compounds – so it’s hard to know exactly which one is exerting the benefits. As with most plants it’s likely synergistic
But as with anything in nutrition – the dose makes the poison. Too many cups (above 4 certainly) and drinking coffee too late in the day has negative outcomes for health. Your personal coffee dose is also unique to you, often influenced by your genes. .
Just like other things in nutrition & exercise, the aim is to be less extreme (at either end) & steer away from overconsumption and over-restriction. Become conscious of your choices & be happy with them.
So, my answer is much in line with my whole approach to a balanced life; a little, just not a lot. .
There are of course certain situations where drinking the bean is just not a good idea; those suffering with anxiety, hypertension, sleep issues, migraines and hot flushes just to name a few. If you don’t drink coffee already, I’m not advocating starting but if you are already a coffee lover read on to make your decision on how much and what type is more beneficial. As with anything knowledge is power, so let’s get wise and you can make your own informed choice. .
The Dark Side (bad bits):
| Coffee consumption can result in deficiencies of B Vitamins and other vital nutrients in the body
| Long term over use can lead to dysfunction of the adrenal gland. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and even exacerbated panic attacks
| Caffeine allows adrenaline to work unhindered so can exacerbate anxiety, increase blood pressure, heart rate, palpitations, blood flow to the muscles and irritability
| Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors; those guys that tell us ‘Yo! You’ve been awake too long, time to sleep!’ – this effects your sleep / wake cycle
The Bright Side (good bits)
| Coffee is a powerful antioxidant. This could be why research shows coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of getting Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder..
| Studies have shown that if you drink 1 cup of coffee daily your concentration improves
|Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from your fat tissues, therefore it also leads to significant improvements in physical performance (this CAN be a negative too though, especially if you’re an anxious person)
|In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death in men and a 26% decreased risk of death in women, over 18–24 years
So if you’re still up for a brew here’s the coffee commandments to help you tame the caffeinated mistress that is the Flat White;
1) Try to only have one or two a day, make midday your cut off and drink it with or just after food to support your adrenals and digestive tract.
2) GOOD QUALITY ONLY – put down that instant right now. Not only is it gross its high in a chemical called acrylamide which has been shown to cause nerve damage. My favourite brand is White Cloud Coffee – they ethically source quality coffee beans grown at high altitudes. The higher the altitude the coffee is grown at, the denser the bean, the higher quality grade AND the more antioxidants (remember, antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that cause harm if their levels become too high -linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer )
3) Go for medium roast coffee as it has the highest degree of antioxidant activity of all the roasts (too little and it doesn’t release the compounds too much roasting and it can cause extra toxins) .
4) Think about the farmers – choose brands that think about sustainability and small farms (like White Cloud!)
5) Coffee made by running water through ground coffee beans with an espresso machine, plunger is queen.
6) Don’t add sugar! This totally negates any positive health effects and then all you can taste is sweetness instead of the beautiful bean
7) In the words of @shona_vertue “Hydrate before you caffinate” (or after I’m not picky) coffee is dehydrating so give your body a hand would ya?!
If you want to give White Cloud a bash use my code Jo10 to get a lovely 10% discount on their coffee and coffee machines too!