Time for a Coffee Break?
First off, this is not a post suggesting to give up coffee altogether. No way! I love coffee and the pleasure it brings. The first time I had a legitimate cup of coffee at the ripe age of 25, the superpowers that came with that cup of joe were unlocked. More energy, a better mood, and feeling fully awake. Coffee provided a new sense of enthusiasm for the day. All in just one eight ounce cup of coffee.
Today, the superpowers from drinking coffee are noticeable, just not quite to the extent of that first ever cup. Sometimes (Everyday), I find myself going back for more, hoping there might be a superpower to unleash hidden in that 4th cup of coffee. I don’t necessarily feel guilty for drinking hefty amounts. The health benefits from consuming coffee, even up to 4 cups a day, can’t be ignored. Increased mental acuity, increased metabolic rate (burning of fat), and over a 10% reduction of death from disease shown for coffee drinkers, mentioned in the book a Genius Life, written by Max Lugavere. Shawn Stevenson, in his book, Eat Smarter mentioned how the caffeine in coffee suppresses genes related to inflammation. People who are coffee drinkers tend to live longer, more healthy lives.
But, there’s always a but, you can have too much of a good thing. Starting with the obvious, caffeine can negatively affect sleep. Caffeine has a long shelf life, anywhere from 8-10 hours in the body for slow metabolizers, so that late afternoon cup will make it more difficult for some to get into a slumber. For those that can have a cup of coffee in the evening and still fall asleep without problem (that’s a super power in itself), the quality of your sleep will most likely take a hit according to sleep doctor, Michael Breus. Brues stated in The mindbodygreen podcast that caffeine too close to bedtime will reduce the amount of time spent in deep sleep, the phase that is crucial for physical and mental rejuvenation. Sleep is everything, so it may be wise to reevaluate your coffee intake and determine a cut off point for when you have that last cup.
The next reason why taking a break from coffee may be beneficial is to lessen the load on your adrenals. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate important functions like your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and response to stress. Two hormones that the glands produce are cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol helps your body respond to stress and adrenaline helps your body react to stress. Both are vitally important for survival, but we’d like these levels to drop when we don’t need them (sleep anybody?). Constantly having high levels of both cortisol and adrenaline throughout the day is taxing on the adrenals and the body. Coffee comes into play because constant caffeine intake from your java could cause your adrenals to overproduce cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic elevated levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, anxiety, depression, digestion problems, and sleep issues mentioned by Bekka Wiedenmeyer in her blog. If you have a lot of stressors in your everyday life to begin with, as most people do, having cup after cup of coffee is most likely putting your adrenals into overdrive.
Lastly, it would be prudent to look at the type of coffee you are consuming and what you’re putting into your coffee. The quality of your coffee, like anything you consume, matters. Many commercial brands of coffee contain mold and drinking moldy coffee would instead be reversing those super powers you were hoping to attain from coffee. Look for coffee that has been harvested in the mountains, at high levels where mold is less apt to grow (beans from Central America are generally good). Pick arabica beans over robusta as robusta beans have higher levels of mycotoxins, a type of fungi that is a major disruptor for our gut, brain, and body. Also, take a look at what you are adding to your coffee. Artificial sweeteners and creamers loaded with dangerous vegetable oils and added sugars are kryptonite to the body.
For the first ever MAShealth Challenge, we are going 10 days straight without having coffee. The challenge starts on Jan 22nd, 2021 and ends on the last day of the month. Water, teas, and bone broths are viable coffee substitutes and are ok to have during the challenge. You’ll still find caffeine in teas, but about one third to one fifth of the amount you would get from a cup of coffee. The idea is to resensitize yourself to your coffee intake and give your body a coffee and caffeine reset. Doing so may allow you to reap the benefits and powers through drinking appropriate amounts when we bring coffee back into the equation on February 1st.
To mas health,
Maed blog written by Becca Wiedenmeyer https://maed.co/are-your-adrenals-to-blame/
Max Lugavere-The Genius Life Book
The Mindbodygreen podcast-Jason Wachob with guest Michael Breushttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-best-worst-foods-for-sleep-michael-j-breus-ph-d/id1246494475?i=1000504706518
Shawn Stevenson-Eat Smarter Book