Your Caffeine fix – what’s the scoop?

Is caffeine all bad?

The answer is – yes and no and it is very individual!

There is still much disagreement about whether coffee is positive or negative for our health and there have been many studies more recently into the benefits.

While one cup can make you feel more alert, motivated and focused in the short term for some, for others, even one cup makes them more anxious and jittery. Like everything else, how we break down caffeine and other toxins is once again very dependant on our gene’s and stress levels.

I did a DNA fit genetic test during my time studying at CNM and it was very interesting on many levels. It turns out I am a fast metaboliser of coffee, which means I can tolerate more or break it down faster. Some people are slow metaboliser’s of caffeine and you will be very aware of it yourself, depending on how much you can have before feeling some negative effects. The fact that I am apparently a fast metaboliser rings true for me as I can tolerate it quite well these days.

On the plus side, recent studies have shown links between coffee consumption and increased longevity, metabolism boost, more balanced blood sugars and reduction of disease risk like diabetes 2 and parkinson’s, as well as positive effects on cardiovascular health.

As mentioned you have that initial energy kick. Caffeine also increases activity in the brain by blocking a neurotransmitter called adenosine and increasing the release of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This helps to reduce tiredness and makes us feel more alert.

However, for any of the above benefits, like the food we eat, we are talking about quality organic coffee, as always. We are not talking about dairy milk latte’s with 2 sugars! 😉

The important questions are:

How much are you having per day? Any more than 1-2 cups a day is probably too much. Some people can tolerate up to 3 cups. If you are relying on caffeine to wake you up in the morning and get through the day in whatever form (coffee, energy drinks, numerous black teas) you may need to re-think your morning drink!

What type of coffee are you drinking? Organic coffee is best. Try White Cloud coffee.

How do you drink your coffee? Best to drink it black or with unsweetened plant milk so you are not adding extra sugars.

What time of the day do you indulge in your cuppa? Before 12 in the day is the best time to enjoy your coffee as after lunch tends to affect your sleep and circadian rhythym

Does one cup make you anxious or jittery? Caffeine from coffee is stimulant, at the end of the day. For some people consuming too much coffee can cause heart palpitations and increase feelings of anxiety or jitteriness. If you’re an anxious person or have high stress levels, coffee might not be for you. If it does, then you may gentically be a slow metaboliser of coffee and probably best to replace your cup of coffee with a herbal tea like dandelion tea or chai, for example.

All important questions, when it comes to deciding if we need to kick the habit, reduce consumption or change how we drink it and the type we drink.

On the negative side of caffeine consumption, as mentioned caffeine is a stimulant which can increase the stress response. If you have PCOS or other hormonal imbalance anyway, as stress is the master hormone, it wil further exacerbate the hormonal imbalance issue.

Caffeine can affect your body’s absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium which for some can lead to deficiencies, particularly in iron deficiency anemia. It can also dehydrate so make sure you are drinking more water during the day, if you are having your morning cuppa.

If you’re a coffee lover, like myself, if you don’t get anxious, aren’t overly stressed, don’t have a hormonal imbalance currently or sleep issues then enjoying 1-2 cups a day before 12pm may serve you well (with no added sugar of course!).

To your abundant health,

Melissa x