My Thoughts on Coffee: Healthy or Not?

by Beaming with Health on April 28, 2015

IMG_0339I get this question a lot: “what do you think about coffee”? Usually the conversation starts out with the person telling me that they are so many mixed messages out there about whether coffee is healthy or not. As a health coach, I have read countless studies or opinions from health professionals on whether coffee is healthy or not. Everyone has a different opinion (some based on studies and some based on personal experience). I want to give my thoughts on the matter, and would love to hear yours in the comments below.

Before I start, let me say that I am evolving towards a more intuitive approach to health. I research nutrition and health, I read the latest articles, and I have been through my own host of health problems. More and more, I try to figure out what is best for my body based on how things feel for my body. This is not to say that I don’t think research and studies are important, but I do think many people could benefit from listening to their own intuition a bit more. Thus, in a lot of my posts to come you will read me talking about my own personal experiences (as well as clients) with various foods, habits, etc. To me there is nothing more powerful than listening to and observing your own body and what is best for it day-to-day.

I’m going to write more on the above subject later, but for now intuitive health rant over! Let’s talk about the beautiful, rich, bitter drink that so many of us love. I’m not here to quote studies in this discussion, but if you looked up some of articles on coffee you would read many things. Some people believe it is good for the digestion because it adds a bit of acidity (some people lack proper levels of stomach acid so this can help) or some talk about the high levels of beneficial antioxidants. Others will tell you coffee is good for headaches, whereas different people will tell you it can trigger migraines. Many believe it is a mood booster. Some feel it is a blood sugar nightmare – sending you on the up and down roller coaster of high and low blood sugar. Finally, some health professionals speak about adrenal glands and how coffee can be taxing on them. Given all of that, what do I think?

I think you should listen to your body. If you have lots of trouble with energy (say you have highs and lows throughout the day), are constantly fatigued or get tired easily, or you have trouble sleeping, coffee might not be for you. It is at least worth going without it for a bit to see if that helps the issue. Just be sure to ween slowly off coffee over the period of a week or so to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

If you have digestive issues this could go either way. If it seems coffee helps your issues, I think a small amount is no problem at all. I am always a proponent of having coffee more as a treat rather than as something that is a must everyday. With that said, some people experience heart burn or stomach issues after drinking coffee. If that is the case, either try only having coffee with food, or skipping it all together.

If you have good energy levels, no trouble sleeping, and no digestive issues, I see no problem with coffee. I recommend it in small amounts, and personally I prefer to not have it every day so that my body is not reliant on the caffeine. It is also best to get organic coffee when you can and add either full-fat, organic cream or fresh almond milk when possible. Sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia, whole cane sugar, or coconut sugar are best when accessible.

I used to be against coffee. I thought it was an artificial source of energy. I now drink it in moderation (maybe a couple days a week). I usually get an espresso drink (I have read that the oils in the espresso slow the release of caffeine into the body), and I try to drink high-quality coffee. I also listen to my body. If I notice I am becoming too dependent on it to feel energized, I back off for a few days. I always try to have it with food. If I feel like my body needs to detox (say after a couple days of less than stellar eating or enjoying a few drinks) I skip it as caffeine can affect the liver. Finally, and most importantly, I try to savor it. Making my coffee drinking an experience instead of a “need to have”. Enjoy your coffee in a beautiful setting with good friends whenever possible.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel when you drink coffee? Is it a regular part of your routine? I would love to hear from you!

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