Let’s talk about coffee…
Whether or not coffee is healthy for us is often a hot topic of debate. Some say yay and some say nay, so what’s the real answer?!
One of the main reasons many of us consume caffeine, and thus coffee, is because it gives us more energy and makes us feel alert, right? Well actually, perhaps not…
Dr Peter Rogers, a psychologist at Bristol University, found that those who drank coffee didn’t feel any better than those who didn’t. Coffee drinkers just feel better than they did when they woke up, which actually means they relieved their symptoms of coffee withdrawal.
Another study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 1,500 psychology students and divided them into four categories; abstainers of coffee, low consumers (1 cup daily), moderate (2-4 cups) and high (5+ cups). The moderate and high users were found to have higher levels of anxiety and depression, the greatest incidence of stress-related conditions, and lower academic performance.
So what exactly does coffee do to the body…?
Coffee blocks the receptors for a brain chemical called adenosine, whose function is to stop the release of the motivating neurotransmitters dopamine and adrenaline. With adenosine blocked, the levels of dopamine and adrenaline then increase, as does alertness and motivation. The result on the body is adrenal exhaustion. The body begins struggling to produce these important chemicals of motivation and communication, which is when apathy, depression, exhaustion and an inability to cope sets in. Additionally, people who drink too much can become allergic and unable to detoxify the caffeine, which can lead to serious disruption of both mind and mood.
Before you consider turning to tea, I have some more bad news. Did you know there’s as much caffeine in a strong tea as there is in coffee? Sigh… Additionally, tea also contains tannin which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb essential minerals such as iron and zinc. Double sigh…
The other problem we have when we depend on stimulants like tea and coffee, is that they increase our risk of a thyroid imbalance. This can lead to a slower metabolism, weight gain, calcium imbalance (leading to arthritis) or problems association with hormonal imbalances. If you currently suffer from any of these it’s important to consider caffeine as an aggravator (and sugar, but we’ll save that for another blog). Your body could be in a state of chronic stress, due to an over production of adrenaline and cortisol hormones, produced by over stimulated adrenal glands. The good news is that if you stop the caffeine, the damage can be repaired. Phew!
Lastly, Doctors are now beginning to advise patients with atrial fib to stop drinking tea and coffee. Early research is indicating that the longer term effects can impact your heart health, and it’s already known that caffeine can be a trigger for atrial fib patients, as per the NHS website.
But let’s not end on a low… let’s talk about what we could drink instead!
All herbal teas offer health promoting benefits as well as mostly tasting pretty good, or barley and chicory.
Herbal tea health benefits;
- Peppermint tea is great for digestive health so is particularly enjoyable after a meal.
- Ginger tea encourages the production of HCL in your stomach which aids digestion, so is great before a meal.
- Green tea can be a good alternative to coffee as whilst it does contain caffeine, the levels are far lower.
- Camomile is a great herbal tea for relaxing and can help encourage falling to sleep quicker.
- Finally, lemon and ginger tea is great for combatting colds and boosting your immune system.
For even more information, this is a great article;
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Have a healthy, happy week!