Is Coffee Bad for Me?


Is Coffee Bad?

Anyone who is a heavy coffee drinker must have wondered at one point after their coffee break “is coffee bad for me?”.

The answer to that billion cups a day question is actually very personal. It depends on how many cups of coffee one drinks daily. What kind of coffee do they drink, is it black, flavored, sweetened etc? What is the physical and mental health of the coffee drinker (is she pregnant, do they suffer from sleep deprivation). With 300 contributing chemicals in green beans, and over 850 after roasting – coffee affects people differently!

A quick search on-line about the healthy or unhealthy benefits coffee yield would be enough to scare you even if the only thing you ever had was coffee flavored liqueur (in which case, you should really be scared).

There are no shortage of research papers showing that drinking coffee has been shown to deplete vital vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, zinc, iron (anemia) and just about every essential mineral and vitamin in the human body. Furthermore, caffeine intake can decrease calcium absorption and put you at risk for osteoporosis, to mention just a few 'issues' with coffee.

The caffeine in coffee has not been spared either. Studies upon studies show that caffeine can have several negative effects, such as temporary insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach issues, rapid heartbeat and muscle tremors (according to the Mayo Clinic).

In addition, a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that for people who metabolize caffeine slowly, drinking coffee can increase the risk of non-fatal heart attacks. At least it is not fatal!

The Singapore Health Promotion Board cautions those under 55 to drink no more than 28 cups of coffee per week or else. This is not the only national health board that cautions against coffee.

Various studies have shown that since coffee is highly acidic, and high acidity in the body over time is linked with many degenerative health ailments. Furthermore, coffee acts as a diuretic and dehydrates the body, tending to cause headaches and other problems. Chronic dehydration can affect health negatively in many ways, including premature aging of the skin and extra stress on the elimination system. And of course, in our age of toxin bombardment, anything that makes it more difficult for your body to detoxify itself is a bad idea.

No wonder than that “I gave up coffee” is a refrain of the health conscious. But should it be?

The idea that coffee is a dangerous, addictive stimulant springs mostly from 1970s- and 1980s-era studies that tied the drink to higher rates of cancer and heart disease, explains Dr. Rob van Dam, a disease and nutrition expert at Harvard School of Public Health who has examined coffee and its health effects. According to van Dam, that old research didn’t do a great job of adjusting for a person’s cigarette habit or other unhealthy behaviors.

No one is suggesting you drink more coffee for your health (well, that is arguable actually). But drinking moderate amounts of coffee is linked to lower rates of pretty much all cardiovascular disease, contrary to what many might have heard about the dangers of coffee or caffeine. The same holds true for breast cancer, where associations were statistically not significant. It’s true that the data on lung cancer shows an increased risk for more coffee consumed, but that’s only among people who smoke. Drinking coffee may be protective in those who don’t.

Drinking coffee is associated with better laboratory values in those at risk for liver disease. In patients who already have liver disease, it’s associated with a decreased progression to cirrhosis.

So which is it, is coffee good or bad for you?

Unless you suffer from coffee or your doctor prescribed it for you, moderate drinking is the key. Try to inject some variety into your drinking habits. Luckily, there are several alternatives to caffeine that can enhance energy and promote good health. However, it is important to remember that if you are a daily caffeine drinker, any substitute will take time to work as your body deals with caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine is very strong and rivals most other energizing products. With time, the body will get used to the lack of caffeine and embrace the other choices.

Health Boosting Caffeine Free Coffee Alternatives

DATE SEED COFFEE

Coffee made from date seeds is traced back through the centuries to the Saharan desert and Middle Eastern cultures. It offers a unique blend of delicious coffee taste with the added health benefits derived from the seeds of the palm date fruit. 

A delicious and healthy coffee substitute that is growing in popularity. Date seeds coffee is an energizing, healthy and delicious coffee substitute. The date seed is rich in minerals, ions, vitamins and antioxidants. In addition to their nutritional content, date stones are believed to heal heartburn, improve the immune system from free radical attack and aid in digestion - to mention just a few of the date seed's health benefits.

Modern research have shown that the Date Seed could be used as a medicinal food in treating renal stone, bronchial asthma, cough, hyper–activity and weak memory. Ishrud et al. [2001] showed that date–pits contain glucomannan, which helped to normalize blood sugar, relieved stress on the pancreas, and discouraged blood sugar abnormalities such as hypoglycaemia and prevented many chronic diseases. Furthermore, Rahman & Al–Kharusi, 2004 showed in their research that Date–pits contain amino acids and hormones that could help improve memory.

PEPPERMINT TEA

One of my personal favorite coffee replacements is a good peppermint tea. It has no caffeine but peppermint tea has a refreshing and invigorating energy to it that is perhaps more subtle, but definitely more easy to work with, than the jittery jolt of the strong caffeine in coffee.

Peppermint tea is good to reduce stress level, aides in weigh-loss by reducing appetite, helps to reduce fever and associated pain and discomfort, provides relief from excess gas, nausea and motion sickness and of course the fresh breath – you might even want to give some peppermint tea to your closest friends and colleagues :-)

A warm cup of peppermint tea can be a great coffee alternative for people who need something to get them going in the morning.

GINGER TEA

Like peppermint tea, ginger tea is both energizing and great for improving digestion. It makes a great coffee alternative as a strong ginger tea can really wake you up if you’re tired and improve your mood if the day isn’t going that well.

The health benefits of ginger root oil can be attributed to its digestive, expectorant, antiseptic, analgesic, anti inflammatory, stimulating and aphrodisiac properties to mention just a few.

COCONUT WATER

Coconut water is a clear, milky liquid that comes from green, young coconuts. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes and is chock full of rehydrating electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks. In deed coconut is considered as one of the wonder trees known to man. Not only the fruit but the whole palm is reported to be of many uses. Coconut provides coconut water and the flesh inside the nut. The water and flesh supply us with essential nutrients that can keep our stomachs full and give us energy to increase endurance – best served fresh and ice cold :-)

CHAMOMILE TEA

For centuries, people around the world have turned to chamomile herbal tea as a cure-all for a multitude of physical and emotional health concerns. For anyone feeling a little tense as coffee lets go of its grip on them, chamomile tea can be a relaxing and soothing drink. Caffeine-free like ginger and peppermint tea, chamomile tea has been shown to help relaxation, reduce tension and improve sleep.

Feeling anxious? Chamomile tea can help!

In fact it seems to be good for caffeine withdrawal headaches :-)

YERBA MATE

Yerba mate has been used as a base for herbal medicines in South America for centuries, and the plant’s benefits and therapeutic properties have recently been verified by a number of scientific studies. Yerba Mate provides a wealth of nutrientshowever unlike the other alternatives we mentioned here, Yerba mate is exploding with caffeine for those who can't start the day without a cup o' caffeine. It is alsopacked with nutrients and is widely known for not having the heavy "crash" that coffee can bring.

Enjoy!