Coffee - Is It Your Medicine Or Your Poison?

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This is one I am wrestling with at the moment.  I have always loved coffee, the ritual, the smell, the taste.  So it was tough a few years back to have to give it up when I was suffering autoimmune issues, in particular adrenal fatigue.   

Due to it's high acidity, and because it increases your levels of cortisol, which is very hard on the adrenal glands, I gave it up for over 4 years.  

Then in the middle of a tough job a few months back I decided to have an espresso.  Whoa.  The energy, mood boost, and vitality it gave me was enormous.  So slowly over time it has become a daily habit again.  

I found my focus was better, and clarity of mind was stronger.

However at the same time I have constantly fought with myself over whether my new coffee habit was good for me, and delved into much research of all the pros and cons of which there are many (see below).  Adding to this, the studies can be quite controversial which adds to the confusion.

Another concern is having a bit of an addictive personality, the daily quantity was seeming to increase. 

So I decided to do a little experiment (I see everything as experiments these days - there is no right or wrong).   I decided to give it up again and see how it affected me. 

The result....I definitely didn't have the same energy and focus as I do when I have a coffee.   Introducing it back a couple of weeks later I really felt like my body loved it.

As you may be aware I believe that no one way is right for everyone.  However I think for me 1 or 2 espressos gives me a boost that my body actually benefits from, and enjoys.  The key is keeping it to this level, and keeping a watch over time that it doesn't have any adverse affects.  I should also note that I don't have any sugar or milk in my coffee - knowing that for me that sugar and dairy do not agree with my system.

So if you have any of the same concerns about coffee, I encourage you to experiment for your self and see what works for you.

Below I have outlined some of the findings from the research I have done.  There is no conclusive findings on this, and some are contradictory.  However I have done my best to give you an overview.

The Good

*          Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants

*          It can improve memory and mental performance

*          It has been shown that it can protect you against, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, liver cancer and liver cirrhosis. 

*          Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke

*          Can increase athletic performance

The Bad

*          You shouldn't have coffee if you are suffering from fertility issues or while pregnant as it increases the risk of miscarriage.

*          It can increase your blood pressure - so not good for people with high blood pressure or hypertension.

*          Coffee increases your production of cortisol and causes havoc with the adrenal system.  So not good for people with auto immune issues. 

*          It can increase anxiety levels if you have too much. 

*          Coffee can disturb sleep patterns 

*          It can increase PMS symptoms in some people.

I am working with the theory of everything in moderation.   However I leave it up to you to decide what is right for you. 

Listen to your intuition, and your body.... it will give you the answer.