I have always been intrigued with the ways we use food and beverages to impact and alter our moods, emotions, and bodies...as well as our brain chemistry and, of course, our health. I hear about these issues all the time.
Recently a dear friend sent me a message that stuck with me, “Coffee is my courage”. Wow, what a statement. It says so much! Many of us find ourselves relying on one of the most popular substances throughout time, so I wanted to say a little bit about it.
Don't worry friends, I'm not here to tell you to stop, only to consider. Clients often ask me things like "is coffee good or bad?" and I tell them the same thing I do about many things we consume....
- How does it make YOU feel? What is your personal experience with coffee/caffeine?
- Things are not always black and white (Oreos and Zebras not included) There are variables for quantity, quality and frequency...
- What are your health concerns? For example, if you told me that you have high anxiety and/or massive adrenal fatigue, insomnia (or a host of other things) then coffee might not be right for you. Or maybe you should consider the occasional organic decaf. Sometimes all you need is to take "time off the stuff" twice a year, or cut on how much you consume. I have experimented with ALL of these things.
- I would also say that for every "top ten benefits of coffee” you will find a list of “top ten not-so-beneficial effects of coffee”. ALL can be true and we must find what really works best for us as individuals. What is right for YOU and your body, time of life, stress and anxiety levels, hormonal issues, digestive health and much more. Not to mention the kind of coffee and how you prepare it. YEP. ALL of these things.
- The other thing I like to mention is about rituals of pleasure and coffee is certainly one for people-- the smell, the social aspects, the cafes, the morning quiet time with your rich warm beverage. This one I also enjoy talking about, the ways that it brings so much pleasure to peoples lives.
In life we strive for balance, and coffee is included in that. There are health benefits to coffee, I read about them daily and from the health practitioners and educators I look up to and consult with. Coffee has also been scrutinized for health risks, So what's "the truth" about coffee? I have collected dozens of articles on this topic since it comes up so much. I'm not posting them all here but I will share more of them over the coming months along with other popular topics.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, "moderate coffee consumption (three to four cups per day) has been linked with longer lifespan. In fact, a November 2015 study in Circulation found that coffee consumption was associated with an 8% to 15% reduction in the risk of death (with larger reductions among those with higher coffee consumption)." Lower risk of death?! This made me laugh. Of course there are plenty of other ways to get the same health benefits from other substances but for those of you who are die hard coffee peeps I'm sure you'll be happy to hear this.
Coffee continues to be investigated. Scan the following list; these are all conditions that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of:
- cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, heart failure, and stroke)
- type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- uterine and liver cancer
Consider the things I mentioned above and see what rings true for you. Some things we do or consume in our lives change as time goes on. We find that what used to work doesn't and vice versa.
My personal experience with coffee has had many incarnations over the years along with all I have been through with my physical and mental health-- and there are plenty of times I couldn't have any at all for long periods of time. Some times I missed it and other times not. One thing is for sure I have always had a love affair with it that sexy brew!