Is Coffee Good or Bad?

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Monday Morning Acu-Minute by Karen Johnson

This or That
Week #1

Coffee!

Yes, this widely enjoyed beverage is the subject of much debate among scientists, health nuts, and aficionados worldwide. Is there any consensus?

The upside…If you like it, it tastes great, smells good, can be part of welcome daily ritual and a focus for social gatherings. Scientifically, coffee, as a plant food, is full of nutrients and antioxidants, which may actually help prevent disease. We know from personal experience and from scientific validation, that coffee can elevate your mood, increase alertness and generally improve overall work performance.

The downside…We need to drink a lot of water for healthy body function, and many people count coffee as part of their water intake. Unfortunately, some of the active ingredients in coffee affect fluid balance. Coffee can be dehydrating instead of fluid building. Coffee also has a tendency to leach calcium from the body and may contribute to bone fractures in folks with osteoporosis. The stimulating quality of coffee may help with work performance, but it can also interfere with sleep patterns, causing some people to be irritable, anxious or jittery. The acids in coffee may cause digestive problems like acid reflux as well as bladder and prostate irritation. If you have become accustomed to regular coffee consumption, it might be hard to cut back, leaving you tired and wrestling with headaches.

How to offset the downsides? If you do have trouble sleeping, drink your coffee earlier in the day. It takes about 6 hours for the caffeine to be fully processed. If you are having digestive problems, consider drinking a large glass of water before your coffee, in order to ease the impact on your sensitive stomach lining. Have a good source of calcium in your diet to offset calcium leaching.

If you know you are chronically tired and stressed and realize you are using coffee to keep yourself going, you might want to consider other avenues to build up your energy reserves, instead of just kick-starting yourself every day. Building health with good diet, regular sleep, acupuncture, laughter and getting outdoors will provide you with better energy in the long term and prevent a situation called “adrenal fatigue.”

Lastly, consider enjoying organic or free trade coffee that has been grown with fewer pesticides. Pesticides do stay on the coffee bean after harvest and wind up in our bodies.

Wishing you all the best,