From Amsterdam’s coffee shops to the Brazilian favelas and from Ethiopia to Seattle, coffee is adored by millions. Aside from its significant social role, coffee has a complex influence on our biochemical balance with both beneficial and negative effects.
It’s non-stimulatory effects
Coffee’s biochemical effects in our body are not exhausted in exciting our nervous system. The list bellow is a follow up of a previous post which should help us get a more complete picture:
1. Caffeine interferes with the metabolism of B vitamins and the absorption of minerals (such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium) and vitamins A and D.
2. Coffee is highly acidic and when abused can cause digestive problems, heart burn and gut bacteria imbalance.
3. High excretion of 5-HIA in coffee drinkers has been speculated to risk serotonin (the happy hormone) synthesis.
It very quickly becomes obvious that the effects of coffee are far from simple. While understanding the pathways mentioned above is important, you should always keep in mind the individuality of your body and listen to it. If you are in search for alternatives green tea can be a great option with aprox a 3/4 less caffeine.
…and it’s stimulatory effects
1. By having an excitatory effect on our nervous system (NS) coffee mobilizes our energy reserves. In that sense coffee is food and a very expensive one if you think all the energy and time your body has spent to convert food into something as useful as protein or fat. Because of that intimate relationship coffee has with the sympathetic NS it is a very bad company for food. This is the reason why a pastry is metabolised into blood sugar much faster when accompanied by a cuppa!!!
2. Caffeine only makes 1 to 2% of the bean which also includes a variety of antioxidants and a compound which seems to regulate blood sugar metabolism in the liver. It is likely due to them that coffee has been found in research to have anti-diabetic properties.
3. From studies done in athletes, coffee’s excitatory effects are more pronounced in those who rarely consume it.
Based on the above my suggestions would be:
1. As you shouldn’t be a slave to any stimulant, coffee shouldn’t be an exception. To achieve that don’t consume it with your breakfast, in times of low energy or stress.
2. Enjoy the social side of it but refrain from accompanying it with food.
3. To get the most of its benefits opt for the organic, non-filter option, or simply think Turkish!