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Put the Coffee Down

Why it’s time to put the coffee down, not put it first. Your health just might depend on it!

If you don’t feel like “you” before you’ve had a cup of coffee in the morning, chances are good it’s because you’re not. Habitual morning coffee drinkers are everywhere. In fact, it’s estimated that over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily worldwide. The thing is that coffee isn’t exactly the best thing for your health first thing in the morning. And the other fact is that it is an addictive substance. The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. If coffee is the first thing you think of in the morning, if you need a shot of caffeine to get your day started, or if coffee is such a habit that you reach for a cup in the morning without even thinking about it, you might have a problem.

“Hi. My name is ________, and I am addicted to coffee.”

It’s okay. Let me again remind you as you continue to read this, you are not alone. The even better news is that I’m not going to convince you to stop drinking coffee (I’m sitting at a coffee shop with an almond milk latte to my right as I type this). I’m not even going to have you reduce your coffee intake (unless it’s incredibly excessive then we can chat later.) So fear not! Coffee lovers unite! Prepare to reap more benefits from your cup of joe.

Back to what was mentioned earlier: You reach first thing in the morning because you’re missing something. That thermos of steamy hot goodness in the morning is your cortisol lifeline. The human body contains high levels of cortisol in the morning. When caffeine fiends pump themselves full of cortisol-induced liquids in the morning they are really telling their body, “It’s cool. You don’t have to produce any. We got this!” Eventually, the body will stop trying. When the body stops naturally producing cortisol, coffee actually does become “needed.” The best way to prove this is to ask any avid-am indulgers to go a week without their AM pick-me-up. Prepare for laughter.

“Okay, so when do I get to drink my coffee?”

Cortisol levels are actually high at three different times during the day. Research indicates the best time to drink caffeine is 10 am–noon, and 2 pm–5 pm. So all you have to do is wait a couple of hours upon waking before you pour.

Pros: you will get an additional mid-morning pickup that you didn’t have before without increasing your caffeine intake, and you don’t have to give anything up!

Cons: because you may be dependent on coffee first thing in the morning, it may be difficult delaying your intake. If you’re not willing to push past those caffeine headaches and start drinking later beginning today or tomorrow, then start small. Delay the am coffee tomorrow by 20–30 minutes. Then another 10–20 minutes the next day. Continue this pattern until you look at the clock one day and realize it’s already 10 or 11 am!

So go forth coffee lovers! Wake up thinking about all of the brilliant things you’re going to conquer that day.

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