Coffee has become such a contentious issue and it doesn’t have to be. Black and white, cut and dry answers are what we all want. The trouble is that that kind of thinking really polarizes arguments won in the grey area between the poles. The pros and cons of coffee are still being worked out. Pros range from protecting against cancer and alzheimer’s disease and preventing and helping to treat type II diabetes. Cons range from aggravating insomnia and hypertension to anxiety and loose bowel movements.
It’s important to remember that studies are done on groups of people with the average results presented. With coffee and other health questions the answer depends on your unique case. Your genes, medications, health and family health history and symptoms all factor into a my assessment of your coffee consumption. Additionally, I consider if you may be sensitive to caffeine only, non-caffeine coffee components or both. If you’re healthy and have no signs of difficulty I’m not going to be looking at your coffee consumption as a problem, unless you’re a little too liberal with the percolating. If you’re struggling with health issues that could be aggravated by coffee I might recommend taking a break or cutting back. That recommendation is aimed at helping you achieve your health goals be it increased energy, better sleep, decreased pain and so on.
Do I drink coffee?
I love, love, love coffee. Right now my body doesn’t. Knowing how much I love it, I’d only ask you to join me if it was going to help you achieve your health goals. That being said, occasionally I will have a coffee if I am having a day where I need the help. I’ll usually opt for a decaf espresso.
Do I have to be perfect?
Absolutely not! I’m not perfect and I don’t expect my patients to be. What is helpful is if you do your best. Your best one day will be different from the next and that’s part of being human. If it’s really a struggle to get through the day without it we can adjust your plan and I’ll explain the pros and cons of doing so. Struggling to come off coffee also could indicate that you are experiencing signs of burnout that can be supported more successfully with nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
To decaf or not:
- Caffeine sensitivity may be governed by the level and genetic code of enzymes in your liver that detoxify caffeine and other environmental and health factors. We all know people who can either fall asleep right after drinking a coffee or those that end up all night after a morning cup of coffee. If you’re the latter you’re liver doesn’t detoxify caffeine quickly and as such a smaller dose can have a large impact.
- Decaffeinated coffee is a great way to go but know how your coffee’s zip was removed. If you’re sensitive to chemicals and additives, Swiss Water Process won’t have the lingering solvents used in chemical detoxification processes.
How do I know if I have a problem that coffee might be aggravating?
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive sweating
- Skin issues
- Digestive complaints
- Unexplained health issues
- If you used to tolerate coffee well but something has changed
- Acid reflux
- Frequent urination
- Recurrent muscle twitching (especially in the eye lid)
People with these conditions may not benefit from their daily java at this time.
- Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – coffee may cross-react meaning the immune system recognizes coffee as it does gluten.
- Exhaustion or burnt out
- Fibrocystic or cycle breast pain
- Interstitial cystitis