The Coffee Debate

 

by Nicole Andrews

There has been a lot of controversy over java, and many people are confused as to whether it would be helpful or harmful to include in their daily regimen. There have been a number of studies conducted lately regarding coffee’s effect on our system, and believe it or not, coffee is appearing to be the next superfood.

 

A study performed by Harvard researchers found that drinking coffee (up to six cups!) has the potential to cut diabetes risk in half! Of course, more research is needed, although overall research does show that coffee is actually more helpful then harmful.

Other studies show that people who drink coffee are 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, have a 25 percent reduced risk of colon cancer, and are 50 percent less likely to develop gallstones. Other beneficial properties of coffee include fewer asthma attacks, headaches, cavities, and elevated mood.

These beneficial boosts to our health are attributed to the compounds discovered in coffee. It appears that coffee contains the antioxidants chlorogenic acid and tocopherols. Trigonelline, another compound in coffee, gives it its bitter taste and contains antibacterial properties. The caffeine in coffee can also enhance our athletic ability by causing our muscles to make stronger contractions, which in turn helps us to burn fat more efficiently.

The downside, however, is that drinking coffee may cause us to ignore fatigue and our body’s natural cry for relaxation. If we choose to ignore these signs and continue to drink down the “joe” day in and day out, we may end up with what’s known as chronic fatigue syndrome due to exhausted adrenal glands.

If you suffer from anxiety, drinking coffee can exacerbate symptoms and may cause more frequent panic attacks. This reaction is very individual, so if you find that coffee causes nervousness, rapid heartbeat or trembling, you may want to start decreasing your intake to prevent such reactions.

Coffee takes between three to six hours to get out of our system, depending on metabolism, and oftentimes sleep is affected by caffeine intake. If you have problems getting enough sleep, you may want to limit your coffee to a morning cup, if at all. In addition, unfiltered coffee may increase cholesterol levels in some people. Other folks that should limit or avoid caffeine include heart patients, pregnant women, and people at risk for osteoporosis since caffeine intake has been shown to attribute to calcium loss in the urine

There are pros and cons to everything, so depending on your current state of health and what issues you are dealing with, coffee may or may not be a superfood you need to include in your daily routine.

Nicole Andrews offers a lifestyle medicine program that has been scientifically proven to improve body composition and lab parameters. Sessions include education and coaching on diet, supplements, lifestyle habits and body composition testing. Andrews accepts Medicare and most private insurances. To schedule an appointment, call 954-489-1345.

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