Like many of you, I was a coffee/caffeine junkee. Of course, that was years ago, before I knew better. I would drink at least 3 cups a day and couldn’t figure out why I had insomnia, anxiety attacks and heartburn. It couldn’t possibly be as innocent as some coffee! Sometimes, even reasonably intelligent people can’t add things up, what can I say? Well, quitting wasn’t easy, so I feel your pain, but here are the top 10 reasons it’s a good idea to find something else to drink (see below for suggestions in case your mind went blank and you are bewildered that there are, in fact, other options):
- Coffee intensifies stress, causing an increase in adrenaline at an average of 40%, which results in increased blood pressure, heart rate, muscular tension, nervousness, perspiration and irritability, eventually leading to chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, and subsequent inability to handle stress as well as sugar intake. In other words, you will look like this:
- Coffee reduces fertility. More than one cup a day makes a woman half as likely to conceive. Now don’t go drinking massive amounts of coffee if you are trying not to conceive – that’s messed up!
- Coffee increases the risk of miscarriage, and can double the rate with just 163 mg a day, that’s only one cup. 75% of pregnant women drink coffee without knowing this. It also has an adverse effect on baby’s muscular development and nutritional balance and increases the risk of birth defects.
- Coffee is extremely dehydrating and causes loss of potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc and other minerals, the B vitamins, especially thiamin, B1, and Vitamin C through its diuretic effect. This means that, no, you cannot count coffee as part of the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.
- Coffee decreases the amount of sleep people get but does not decrease the need for sleep; thus coffee users are often suffering from sleep deprivation.
- Coffee drinkers have a 50% higher risk of heart attack, and osteoporosis and anemia are more common with regular coffee users. Hmmm, not really worth it, is it?
- Coffee increases intellectual speed, but not power. So we may work faster but not smarter.
- Coffee relaxes the smooth muscle in the colon; this laxative effect of caffeine can create a dependence, much like any other laxative.
- Coffee increases cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels.
- Coffee is a major dietary source of cadmium, a heavy metal that is carcinogenic and immunosuppressive, and promotes prostate hypertrophy and cancer.
OTHER CAFFEINE TIDBITS
- Ten and a half ounces of coffee (two small cups) provokes an increase in HCl (stomach acid) output for more than an hour in a healthy person. In someone with an ulcer, the effect is greater and lasts more than two hours. (Hence the heartburn).
- Most negative effects of caffeine can occur with regular use of over 100 mg daily. The average cup of coffee from a drip coffee maker will have 120-150 mg of caffeine per cup.
- It takes body 3-6 hours to remove half of the caffeine consumed.
BUT I NEED/LOVE/WANT COFFEE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Unfortunately, making the switch to your typical decaf variety isn’t much better since decaffeinated coffee contains methylene chloride, a toxic solvent. So here are some other options:
- Switch to swiss water process decaf coffee, a decaffeinating method that does not use harsh chemicals, such as the Second Cup brand. Don’t worry, Keurig lovers, for you there are Gloria Jeans swiss water decaf (regular and hazelnut flavor) as well as Van Houtte swiss water decaf. Decaf is still acidic though, so use in moderation.
- Try herbal coffee substitutes such as Chickory Dickory Dock from David’s Tea or Teeccino. They taste similar to coffee, without the caffeine, acidity and negative effects.
- Once you get over the fact that there isn’t coffee in the cup your carrying around, try putting herbal teas in there instead. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there are many delicious varieties of tea: oolong, roobios, white, to name a few…..all with minimal caffeine and great taste, especially with a teaspoon of organic raw honey added.
So go ahead, quit the coffee habit and do something great for your health!
- Food and Healing by Anne Marie Colbin
- Allergies – Disease in Disguise by Carolee Bateson-Koch, DC ND
- Eating Alive by Dr. Jonn Matsen, ND