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  • Writer's pictureHanni Berger CEO JOYVIAL

Coffee – should you drink it or avoid it?

Is coffee healthy

Coffee is one of those things you either love or hate. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream) and you know how it makes you feel. I love the smell of coffee and can see why coffee lovers crave it first thing in the morning, but the last time I tried just 2 sips I was close to heading to the hospital…more on that later. In either case, I promise to stay objective here.

The news and crazy headlines aren’t helping as one day they say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it. But there is science behind why different people react differently to a cup of joe. It's a matter of your body's constitution and how much coffee you are used to drinking.

To be clear, much about the coffee debate is about the caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine per cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants (fighting toxicity in your body), and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons why drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. Also decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some and it has all the same toxicity fighting antioxidants. Please opt for organic coffee (regardless if decaf or not) whenever possible.

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have, statistically speaking, higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you are affected by it. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. That’s me. I remember working a nightshift when traveling overseas. I barely could keep my eyes open so decided to pour maybe 1oz of coffee in a cup, adding the same amount of water on top of it knowing that my body would react fast. But I had no idea that within a few minutes my heart was about to jump out of my chest. It felt awful and I haven’t touched a sip of coffee since then. The other half of us are fast metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal within a few hours.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different, something that all JOYVIAL health coaches are very thoughtful of when working with you.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

As mentioned the effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt to long-term caffeine use.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain

  • Boosts metabolism

  • Boosts energy and exercise performance

  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol

  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and health risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions. Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

The good:

  • Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases

  • Lower risk of death (“all cause mortality")

  • Can provide asthma relief

The bad:

  • Increased sleep disruption

  • Cardiovascular problems, as caffeine raises your blood pressure

  • Increased stress, as caffeine increases the stress hormones in your body

  • Gastrointestinal problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc)

  • Reduced nutrition absorption

  • Accelerated aging, due to decline in vital hormones

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)

Important: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks but then again, they can be solely responsible for these problems. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk.

Should you drink coffee or not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)

  • People who often feel anxious

  • People who have trouble sleeping

  • People who are pregnant

  • Children & teens

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when drinking coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?

  • Increase anxious feelings?

  • Affect your sleep?

  • Give you heart palpitations?

  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?

  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Really take time to observe your body, right as you drink it, 15 minutes after, and a couple of hours later. Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether symptoms are worth it to you. If you are not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a couple of weeks to see if you feel different. If you get cranky, irritable, or get headaches, you know it’s a sign to give coffee a break.

Would it be helpful for us to support you when you moving towards your vision of living your healthiest, most JOYful life? We are here to guide you every step of the way. Click the 'Contact' button in the top right corner or simply send us an email to to schedule your free discovery session.

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