For coffee lovers
My coffee love affair (or, more accurately, addiction) has begun many years ago. My Mediterranean/European heritage had me drinking coffee by the very young age of 12 or 13.. Yes, I know, way too early. My own children now know very well they have to be quite a bit older than that to be able to indulge in this luxurious beverage.
Coffee is my special daily treat. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to every single day – that walk to the coffee shop, that sensational coffee aroma, that excitement and anticipation followed by that first sip, ahhhh… Absolute bliss.. how bland would life be without this liquid cup of gold. You can take away my Wi-Fi, my TV, even my Sav Blanc, but please don’t mess with my coffee!
Some of my favourite local brews are from Café on Hedges, Mermaid Beach, Café 52 Nobbys, Nook Espresso, Burleigh and Stockland West Burleigh, Flannery’s Refuel Depot, Easy – T Centre, Robina, Little Mermaid, Mermaid Beach and Three Beans, Broadbeach.
Many of my patients and acquaintances refer to their coffee addictions as ‘naughty’ or ‘unhealthy’. And although caffeine consumption is something we don’t necessarily associate with health benefits, reading the next few paragraphs might just make you feel a little bit better about your own personal coffee affair:
Moderate coffee consumption pre – exercise has been associated with weight loss and/or maintaining healthy weight. As long as your coffee is not full of sugar and fat, the consumption of caffeine pre – exercise can encourage your body to utilise more fat than glucose for energy. In 2013 research trials in Melbourne’s Griffith University have also associated coffee consumption with a decrease in hunger and increased satiety which can further assist with weight loss.
Caffeine consumption prior to exercise may enhance stamina and performance. The majority of research on the topic have proven that caffeine can help improve exercise performance. One study in the Journal of applied Physiology has also associated increased levels of enjoyment from exercise with caffeine consumption.
Caffeine has mild laxative properties as it relaxes the smooth muscles in the colon. Having a nice cuppa in the morning can help the bowels move and stay regular.
Coffee consumption has been associated with (temporarily) increasing mental alertness. Research (performed on rabbits) further suggests regular consumption of caffeine may reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer ’s disease as it seems to protect the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) from potential harmful chemicals, especially when the BBB is weakened by high cholesterol levels.
Caffeine has been demonstrated to help asthmatics breathe easier: according to some research, it may act as a modest bronchodilator, improving the function of airways modestly for up to two hours.
Regular caffeine intake has been associated with increased levels of serotonin receptors in the brain consequently contributing to overall increased serotonin levels – the “happy/mood enhancing” neurotransmitter. So this instant mood lift we experience and often look forward to after having a latte may also be one of the reasons why coffee can be so addictive and often difficult to let go of.
Coffee drinkers may be better drivers as we now have research (by the Australian Department of Defence) which suggests caffeine consumption may improve driving performance as well as significantly reduce driver errors. While caffeinated gum was used in this particular research, the results may also be related to coffee consumption.
THE COFFEE CLAUSE
Although coffee consumption does seem to hold quite a few health benefits, it is also important to recognise the detrimental effects of caffeine abuse and regular over – consumption of coffee. Here are a few points we all need to be aware of:
Anything over 100mg of caffeine daily (generally 2 standard espresso shots a day) is considered as caffeine over – consumption and can lead to long term health concerns.
Both exercise and caffeine increase our blood pressure. While having one cup of coffee before a workout can give us a great energy boost and possible health benefits as mentioned earlier, relying on caffeine rich pre – workout supplements can push the blood pressure up so high that it can affect the health of our cardiovascular system, and in extreme cases even initiate heart attacks.
Caffeine reduces the absorption of iron and calcium, especially around meal time. So try and enjoy your coffee away from your meals.
Caffeine has an enormous impact on our very delicate Nervous System. It stimulates our Sympathetic Nervous System via our ‘Fight or Flight’ response. Coffee increases the production of our stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol, and when over consumed for long periods of time, it can weaken the adrenal glands and lead to adrenal exhaustion or fatigue.
TIP: Coffee is meant to be giving you a little “lift” or a slight “buzz” when your adrenal glands are working well. If your buzz is too intense, however, your liver may need attention (and a break from coffee) as it may not be detoxifying efficiently. But if you are constantly lethargic or find that your body stopped responding to coffee altogether, or if you fluctuate between very high post caffeine energy levels and hitting an energy slump later on, your adrenals may be struggling.
This is a great opportunity to have a couple of weeks off coffee or look at critically reducing your coffee consumption.