Coffee - Drink it or Avoid it?
Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. But what about the crazy headlines that one day say coffee is great, and the next day say you should avoid it?
There is actually research that supports both sides and I’m here to tell you that both are correct.
NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine per cup, averaging around 120 mg/cup. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine but, it still contains some.
Let's take a look at caffeine metabolism and its effects on the mind and body. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.
Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. Some people are fast caffeine metabolizers and some are slow. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you are affected by the caffeine and this all depends on your genes (and it can actually be tested for with genetic testing).
About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 6 hours after having a coffee. The other half are "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get increased energy and alertness but are back to normal a couple hours later.
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body
NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf. And the quality of your coffee goes a long way as well (try to choose organic and fair trade when possible).
The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly because of our individual metabolism, as I mentioned above. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt to long-term caffeine use. Many people who are new to drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have been drinking coffee every day.
Here’s a list of a few positive effects that usually decrease with long-term use:
Stimulates the brain
Boosts energy and exercise performance
Meaning, someone who drinks one cup of coffee a week may experience these positive effects and someone who drinks coffee every day will no longer have the same effects as the body begins adapt.
Long term coffee (and caffeine) use is known to contribute to the following:
Infertility (in both men and women)
Dysglycemia (fluctuating blood sugar levels)
Should you drink coffee or not?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee but remember, no single food or drink will make or break your long-term health!
Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:
People with arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
People who often feel anxious
People who have trouble sleeping
People who are pregnant
Children and teens
If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:
Give you the jitters?
Increase anxious feelings?
Affect your sleep?
Give you heart palpitations?
Affect your digestion (heartburn, etc.)?
Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?
Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.
Summary Different people react differently to coffee and caffeine. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're use to drinking. This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all so different!