What’s the Story?
Is coffee good for you or bad for you? What’s the story? The debate has persisted for years all over the internet with health experts and grandmothers alike weighing in. And, everyone is on a different side of the fence.
Let’s Look at Coffee More Closely…
My opinion is that like all things, this is highly personal and depends on your own body.
First of all, some people have a genetic variance on a few genes that make them slow metabolizers of caffeine. For these folks, coffee, alcohol and some pharmaceutical drugs can have different effects than the average person without these variances. In other words, 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of coffee might be enough for these folks. Any more and you have a reverse effect or jitters and nervousness.
There are studies showing that coffee and caffeine have neuroprotective benefits. They actually help the brain! Studies have been done on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and depression, among others. Coffee does affect dopamine, the feel-good/reward/motivation brain chemical. If you feel like you need coffee for a good mood, you may be dopamine deficient and it might be useful to look into either supplementing with the amino acid, L-tyrosine (morning only) or 5-mthf (methyl folate, NOT folic acid!!).
Both of these raise dopamine, but make sure you check with your health practitioner before trying them because you’ll want to understand if they will work for you and what to look for.
The Lyme community and others facing chronic fatigue seem quite excited by “Bulletproof Coffee,” which combines a mold-free coffee with some raw organic butter and MCT oil. My suggestion is that if you look into this, you skip the MCT oil, which is a refined derivative of coconut oil and just stick to coconut oil. You basically whiz the good fats up with coffee in your blender and have a kind of cafe au lait that has been consumed by our ancestors — and has been used in states like Vermont by the hardy people living in the cold, backwoods (I used to live in them there back woods, so I still know people doing this today!).
Why Coffee Might be “Bad” for Some
Genetics (see above)
Those deficient in minerals are going to be adversely affected by coffee because coffee steals minerals. However…those who know this and love coffee will add more minerals into their diet to compensate for this. Anderson’s Concentrated Mineral Drops or ConcenTrace minerals, Aussie Minerals — these are liquid sea minerals that have a wide base of minerals. Sea salt and Himalayan salt are also nice sources, although if you have stress and drink coffee, consider a mineral supplement in your water throughout the day to protect your body and adrenals (energy!)
This is one of the big reasons that people with adrenal fatigue are warned off coffee and caffeine. Your adrenals need minerals to recover (and wholefood Vitamin C …not ascorbic acid!).
Components of Coffee
Some people don’t feel well when drinking coffee and this could be a result of the thiols in coffee. Thiols are a component of sulfur foods, like collards, chocolate, bok choy and broccoli. Some people with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or other digestive disorders may not feel well if they have an overload of thiols in their diet on any given day (while other days, there may have been lower consumption with no symptoms). If you are thiol sensitive, you may not feel well when drinking coffee, including decaf. This can be corrected with nutritional balancing, but sometimes it helps to remove these foods at first while working on the root cause of the imbalance.
Poor Quality Coffee? No Bueno
This is where I will invite everyone who must have coffee to DROP your Krups. Think about the plastic and aluminum foil that the hot water has to travel through to make your cup of Joe. No bueno. You are getting the toxic plastic and aluminum into your cup every day. This would make coffee a toxic experience each day.
On top of this, the chemical processing of instant coffee means more chemicals in processing and less antioxidants at the end.
If you were to use freshly ground Swiss water processed organic coffee, you would give yourself a leg up as a coffee drinker.
However, if you put your fresh ground coffee through a plastic coffee maker, you introduce some potential toxins from heated plastic. A French Press made of glass or stainless steel (with no plastic parts) tends to give a better result that can be just as convenient as a Krups because you can make one cup at a time, if needed.
It’s All About Balance
Most of the diet we eat in the US is based on the SWEET taste (meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, grains, beans) — these have a predominately sweet taste in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine. If you crave coffee, your body might be looking for the bitter and pungent tastes to balance out all of that sweet! Keep this in mind if you want to give up coffee and feel like you crave it. There’s a very wise and primal reason you are craving it and you can balance this by bringing other tastes into your diet if you feel coffee is not right for you.
Listen to Your Body
The final verdict? Listen to your body! If you feel like coffee is not working for you, you may want to give it up for a few weeks and see how you feel. A gentle liver cleanse is a really good way to get off coffee if you feel like you are addicted or crave it.
What are your questions about coffee? If you have personal experiences to share, I’d love to hear about them or troubleshoot with you!