As a nation we drink on average, 2.5 cups per week and we definitely can’t get through the week without it. Can you guess what it is? If you haven’t guessed it by now after reading the title, I think you’re in the wrong place.
Coffee is a great way to catch up with friends and relax. I’ll admit it, I do too like my coffee and whilst it is okay to have it every once in a while, I think it is important to know the effects coffee has on the body.
Some naturally occurring compounds in coffee include; caffeine, antioxidants and diterpenes. Not only do these compounds give the coffee its unique flavour, it also leads to the physiological changes within the body, especially caffeine.
We know coffee primarily for its caffeine. So what does it do? Well caffeine acts as a stimulator for your nervous system. Adenosine which plays an important role in your sleep pattern get blocked by caffeine, thus causing energy spikes in the body to get you through your day. Continuous blocking of adenosine through caffeine intake will cause insomnia and poor sleep quality (waking several times through the night and waking up groggy). This is fortunately reversible. A good night sleep is ONE OF THE MOST important things for your health. It’s up there with good nutrition, exercise and Chiropractic care. Whether you want to get fit, gain muscle, lose weight, improve your mood, decrease your stress, heal from chronic pain or from an acute injury, a good night sleep is one of the things that’s required to get you there.
Coffee can make the liver dysfunctional. The liver is the second largest organ in the human body (after the skin) and important for the function of many things in the body. One of them being the hormonal system, which I can cover in the next blog.
Have you ever had a sudden urge to go to the toilet after drinking coffee? Well that’s because coffee also increases acid levels in the stomach. On an empty stomach this can cause irritation of the gut lining in your stomach leading to pain, bloating and heart burn.
Caffeine can also affect your heart. In high dosages it can elevate your blood epinephrine levels. Epinephrine also known as adrenaline can cause an increase in contractibility of your heart and increase in blood pressure. If you have a heart condition you may want to stay away from coffee or any caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine can last about 5.7 hours in the human body. When you have that second cup of coffee during midday, you’re still processing the coffee you had in the morning. If you are that type of person to drink more than two cups of coffee a day, think about it. By the end of the day you will still be processing the caffeine and this is one of the reasons why more than 2 – 3 coffees a day can be so detrimental to your sleep.
Listen to your body. If you’re showing signs of heavy breathing, increased heart beat or even insomnia it is likely that you’re suffering from side effects of caffeine. If you really can’t give up your coffee… I usually say ‘tough’ but at the end of the day, it’s your body and your choice so just make sure you have coffee in moderate amounts.
If you ask me what amount of coffee is okay to have, I would say 1 per week. But realistically, most people drink WAY more than this. Therefore cut it down gradually and eventually only have it casually. There ARE other choices in a café if you look for it.
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