Making good health decisions requires knowing all the facts. Get the facts on America’s favorite morning beverage: coffee.
For many people, coffee is an everyday staple. In fact, most people have multiple cups of coffee every day, just to get by! We’ve all heard the arguments for health benefits to drinking coffee, so shouldn’t it be a good thing to drink multiple cups a day? The answer might not be exactly what you think.
While coffee certainly does have certain benefits, and some say it’s a better alternative to other beverages such as energy drinks or soda pop, it is not necessarily a healthful drink. The benefits seen with coffee do not outweigh some of the negative and harmful effects that are less widely known.
So, what are some of these unhealthy side effects of drinking coffee?
First off, the majority of individuals don’t sip on pure, quality dark coffee plain, by itself. Most add extra sugar, poor quality creams, and flavoring agents, all of which are unnatural and cause detrimental health effects. Sugar can lead to a number of health problems ranging from headaches, Type II Diabetes, weight issues, and cancer, to name a few. When the sugar enters the body in liquid form, it is that much more easily and quickly absorbed right into the bloodstream, causing an insulin spike. So, if you must drink coffee, get high quality black coffee without any added sugars or chemicals.
Caffeine in coffee actually further plays a role in messing up the blood sugar regulation in the body, acting as a double hit to the delicate blood sugar balance of the body. Because blood-sugar regulation plays a major role in the occurrence of autoimmune disorders (such as autoimmune thyroid disease) and diabetes, decreasing or eliminating coffee consumption might be best for you.
Caffeine actually causes blood sugar levels to raise. When this is then combined with the added sugars found in most people’s coffee cups, the effect is doubled. Caffeine is widely used because of its stimulating and energy-giving properties, but, when stimulants are used, it upsets the blood sugar balance, and over time, leads to lasting blood sugar issues and insulin resistance, which then leads to diabetes. Caffeine stimulates the body’s fight or flight response, the response system that alerts us of danger and puts our bodies into ‘survival’ mode. When this happens, the liver is signaled to release sugars into the blood to raise the blood sugar level.
When this raise happens, people experience the ‘high’ or the energy associated with coffee, or other forms of caffeine. Then, the body is forced to secrete insulin from the pancreas to bring the blood sugar levels back down, and that’s when people experience the ‘crash’ or the drop of energy. That is when many reach for their second cup of coffee, and the viscous cycle repeats.
Avoiding, or at least minimizing, coffee intake is a good idea because the caffeine in coffee is dehydrating. Caffeine acts as a diuretic to the body, causing more water to be lost through the urine. According to some experts, for every 8oz cup of coffee (or caffeinated drink) consumed, another 12–16oz of water must also be consumed to avoid dehydration. But, because caffeine dehydrates the body by acting as a diuretic, it also leaches vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B and C. This loss is significant when you realize most people are already severely deficient in these nutrients.
The adrenals glands rest above the kidneys and have the vital role of making and secreting hormones. Because we cannot live or thrive without hormones or proper hormone balance, making sure to keep a healthily functioning adrenal system is vital. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands and causes the same fight or flight response seen during times of trauma or high stress. This means hormone balance is disrupted and stress is placed on the adrenal glands. In time, the adrenal glands fatigue, and we start to have hormone issues, fatigue, and weight gain, among other problems.
Coffee is fairly acidic, and the acidity of the coffee is linked with digestive issues, indigestion, heartburn, GERD, and imbalances in the healthy gut flora in the body that are necessary for many vital functions.
The best way to reach and maintain optimal health is to put as little stress and strain on the body, to allow it to function the way it was designed to do so. While coffee may have some stated benefits, this does not outweigh the stress, strain, and depletion that occurs from coffee consumption. Instead, reach for a fresh glass of water or herbal green tea!
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