Had your coffee hit today?
As I write this article, we’ve purposely positioned ourselves in the corner of a busy city cafe during ‘happy hour’ to observe the human behaviour of people coming in for their morning hit of caffeine (8.16am). For some it’s not their first hit of the day and for some it is the first of many hits throughout the day. For some, that first hit puts them into a coffee coma of bliss as they exhale a sigh of relief and they can now start their day.
As I sit here I’m wondering, how many millions of people all over the world will also enjoy a caffeine jolt today from the humble roasted bean?
A quick google search reveals over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world everyday!
Even without Mr Google, it’s clear by the number of cafes pumping out the alluring aroma and the lines of people queuing for the black gold everyday of the week, that the world loves coffee.
The question that’s left running through my mind as an onlooker and wellbeing coach is, why are we consuming so much coffee and is this good for us?
We will get into whether coffee is good or bad for you in just a moment – but first let’s look at why do you drink coffee?
Think about… Is it:
- to help you function physically?
- to help you function mentally?
- you love the taste?
- for the social aspect?
- because everyone else is having one?
- because it’s free?
- because it’s part of your job?
- or all of the above?
For you, there could be multiple reasons. One of the most common we hear about from people is due to them being tired – whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally and they need a pick me up.
If this is you, have you ever wondered what is the root cause of this lack in energy?
Your body is an incredible design and it has been designed to take care of you. It sends you signals (symptoms) to let you know what’s needs adjusting in order to maintain optimal function and longevity.
If the fuel light in your car comes on telling you the tank is running low, do you ignore it? Do you just put white out on the dashboard so that you can’t see the warning light? No! You stop the car and refuel.
If you do ignore the warning light, the car eventually stops. With your body though, it’s very good at adapting and surviving until it reaches it’s tipping point and can’t take it anymore. This is when someone discovers they have a chronic illness.
For some people unfortunately, they don’t even get much of a warning. For example, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world and for over 50% of those people, the first warning sign that anything is wrong is a fatal heart attack.
Everyone has a different tipping point depending on their genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Reaching this tipping point may take anywhere from a couple of years to 30 or 40+ years, depending on these factors.
How ever long it takes, there are some common physiological and biochemical processes that are going on in the body which cause the warning light to come on.
Stay with me, this is where the juice is!
Most people’s bodies today are in this state of ‘survival’. They aren’t really alive with energy and vitality, they’re just ’not sick’.
A huge contributing factor to this is that most people are ‘starving’ at a cellular level. They are completely nutritionally depleted and their cells are crying out for energy.
Unfortunately the majority of our food supply is from over-commercialised farming sources that has been depleted of much of their nutritional value.
Even the biblical Old Testament advocates the cycling and resting of farmland for one full year every seventh year to allow time for soil to be replenished. Current farming methods do not allow farmland to rest at all and instead use fertiliser that contains only three minerals.
One health speaker I heard put it this way
“our body is saying give me magnesium and we hear chocolate biscuit!”
This is why we look for the stimulants and sugar to give us the energy we need to function and why we experience cravings.
However, if we nutritionally load the the body with nutrient dense foods and high quality naturally sourced combination supplements, we can provide the body the resources that it needs to do it’s job.
This can really tilt the scales in your favour, preventing many of the common lifestyle diseases, having a strong immune system and living and functioning in peak state.
Science shows that 70% of ageing and disease is a result of environmental and lifestyle factors. Only 30% is due to our genetics. This is good news that proves even if we’ve been dealt a bad hand, we can still win by influencing our environment and changing our lifestyle.
To understand more about how you can influence these areas, make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter to receive our Lifestyle Guide to Wellbeing ebook coming soon!
Now, what about the coffee.
Given everything that’s been mentioned above, it’s really for you to decide whether you are using coffee to mask the underlying issue and need it to function or whether you are just having it because you enjoy it.
Either way there are some positives and negatives to coffee.
- protection against neurodegenerative diseases
- improved heart health
- cancer protection
- diabetes protection
- ability to fight depression
- increased energy and concentration
- better physical performance
- improved asthma control
- lower risk of select gastrointestinal diseases
That being said, for some people (like me) it has the opposite effect — leaving them feeling anxious, jittery and unable to focus. In this case it’s often due to a genetic variation, meaning you metabolise the caffeine a lot slower causing it to stay in your system longer which in turn causes these symptoms.
- coffee is known to be one of the most contaminated crops world-wide, being heavily sprayed with pesticides, chemicals and combined with solvents. Therefore consume organic wherever possible.
- for people with adrenal fatigue (about 80% of population) caffeine and any other stimulants will only cause further load to you adrenals
- the same goes for thyroid issues
- can impact hormones, neurotransmitters function, nerve signaling and muscles. This is especially true if you have existing health conditions – like anxiety, heart problems, diabetes and autoimmune issues.
- can disturb normal sleep patterns and sleep quality, especially if consumed after midday
Tips for healthy coffee consumption.
If you are choosing to drink coffee, the team at Foodmatters have created a great Coffee Buying Guide to help you choose the healthiest version.
As someone who loves the taste of coffee but doesn’t do well with caffeine, I make myself a Dandelion Latte or Tea. You can find this at your health food store in tea bags or granules. Some healthy cafe’s even serve it on their drinks menu.
This rich blend of roasted dandelion and chicory makes a great caffeine free alternative to coffee whilst still tasting similar. Enjoy it black or with your choice of frothed milk and natural sweetener like coconut sugar or raw honey.
Dandelion tea is ideal after a meal as it cleanses the liver and balances blood sugar. It is also high in antioxidants which protect your cells and prevent premature ageing.
If you are like Steve, who doesn’t have any health conditions, is nutritionally sound and loves a coffee, go for the best quality organic coffee, whether you are at home or at a cafe, especially if you are consuming 1 or more daily.
Find a healthier milk option that you enjoy rather than conventional cow’s milk, which contrary to popular belief, is in no way a ‘health food’ and can even be damaging to our health. If you really want cow’s milk than go for organic from a quality producer like Barambah Organics, which is readily available, affordable and also do a lactose-free milk.
Non dairy options can be super delicious and nutritious alternatives. Go for sugar-free coconut or almond milk or even try making your own. We recommend avoiding conventional soy milk as it highly contaminated, unless it’s an occasional organic fermented soy milk. Just be careful not to over consume soy (even organic). If you have any hormonal issues we recommend avoiding all soy products all-together.
As we always say, it’s not the occasional thing you do, it’s what you do everyday that counts and ultimately determines whether you are moving towards your tipping point or upgrading your wellbeing and longevity.
Right now, in this busy little cafe, Steve is sipping on an organic cappucino made with BonSoy milk. We all know Steve is a coconut addict so that would normally be his milk of choice, however they don’t have that option here just yet.
For me, I carry dandelion tea bags in a small container in my handbag, so I’ve ordered a mug of hot water and can sit and enjoy the social outing with my man.
Why do you drink coffee? We’d love to hear from you below…