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Coffee Is It Really Good For You?

is coffee good for you
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 9 July, 2012

Is Coffee Good For You?

Coffee, is it good or bad for us? Well according to the research and media reports, one day it is then another day it isn’t, so which is it?

While there are many controversies about coffee’s role in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease to breast cancer, it also has a big effect on blood sugar metabolism. This is important because insulin resistance and inflammation are at the core of many modern-day chronic diseases including gum disease and stress-related problems like grinding teeth, headaches and muscular tension which I see a lot of in my holistic dental practice.

Coffee The Good and The Bad

Coffee is an amazingly potent collection of biologically active compounds which has far-reaching effects on the body and needs to be respected as a potent drug. Caffeine, the “drug” compound in coffee, only makes up a mere 1 to 2 percent of the bean. The other components of coffee are now beginning to be researched on their effects on human health and glucose metabolism.

Many studies in the 1980s and 90s found that the more coffee people with normal blood sugar drank, the less risk appeared for developing Type 2 diabetes probably because chlorogenic acid in coffee inhibits an enzyme that regulates blood sugar metabolism in the liver.

It could also be due to the high levels of antioxidants which have a benign effect on insulin sensitivity.  However, newer studies show that in people with Type 2 diabetes coffee intake was correlated with insulin spikes and increased blood sugar after a meal.

Further research has shown that the caffeine in coffee might be the culprit responsible for the secretion of higher levels of insulin from the pancreas. Clearly higher insulin and glucose levels are not what you want for a body healing from insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes). Considering that diabetes affects nearly 1.7 billion people worldwide and growing it is now wise to caution that perhaps their coffee habit is actually detrimental to their health.

 Coffee Is bad For Your Health

Here are some reasons why:

  1. The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation, and this makes you feel lousy.
  2. Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
  3. Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system which are linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels – the bad cholesterols.
  4. The helpful chlorogenic acids that may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels — an indicator of increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which tends to be elevated in diabetes.
  5. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, reflux and imbalances in your gut flora.
  6. Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy. Ask any coffee drinker about how it feels to withdraw from coffee, and you will mistake their story for that of a drug addict’s…
  7. Associative addictions trend with coffee – picture a coffee … most people think of a warm, frothy drink with sweet milky topping and sugar. Coffee has people addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a beverage but one that is severely lacking nutrition and is packed full of calories.
  8. 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the feel-good chemical) is excreted in the urine at elevated amounts in coffee drinkers. This means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression.
  9. Because caffeine is a diuretic, increases urine production, drinkers of regular coffee are at greater risk of dehydration.
  10. Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.
  11. Caffeine can sharply raise blood pressure levels, even for individuals whose blood pressure is typically normal. Two to three cups of fully caffeinated coffee can spike systolic pressure up to 13 points and diastolic pressure up to 14 points, although some people are more sensitive to caffeine’s effects than others.
  12. Constituents in the coffee can interfere with normal metabolism, absorption of medications (especially thyroid meds and anti-depressants), and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal bodily processes.

So you, if you are trying to kick your caffeine/coffee habit here, are a few things to bear in mind.

How To Quit Coffee

Those who consume the most caffeine, alcohol and sugar, and those who have the highest toxic load, tend to have the most difficulty giving up coffee initially due to the heightened withdrawal symptoms. In any event, symptoms of withdrawal usually disappear after three or four days. It is best to slowly reduce your intake of caffeine and coffee.

Make sure you drink at least six to eight glasses of good water daily and to prevent headaches, make sure your bowels are functioning well – lots of fibre and good probiotics may help.

Take 1,000 mg buffered vitamin C with breakfast and dinner and make sure you exercise gently daily to help fight off fatigue. Simply walking for around 30 minutes daily is perfect. When you are hungry make sure to eat and do not let your blood sugar get low and have some protein in the afternoon such as a handful of nuts or seeds.

If you are missing a warm drink – try herbal teas like peppermint instead.

If you’re irritable or have trouble sleeping, take calcium 500mg and magnesium 250mg before bed. You may find you get really tired as your body has come to rely on the artificial stimulation that coffee gives it to get through the day so factor this in when you decide now is the time to kick the habit. Also, withdrawal can be stressful and research has shown that meditation and other mindful activities can help calm an overstimulated and stressed system while boosting the immune system.

Lastly, you could consider a complete elimination program and avoid all refined sugars, flours, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten and any other addictive substance, as by allowing certain triggers to stay in the diet the body stays on the vicious cycle of cravings and addictive behaviour.

But it is and I know as I have done it over the last few years exceedingly difficult to cut out everything all at once so I suggest gradually cutting out things rather than trying to go cold turkey.

A nice hot cup of herbal tea anyone?

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 25 years experience, practicing holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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