I have a confession to make. There is one popular “health drink” that I haven’t consumed in a long time. It gives people that temporary energy boost, and there are numerous studies promoting its benefits; however, coffee and caffeine are no friends of mine.
Caffeine has been normalized into an addiction that is widely accepted around the world. The coffee industry is a billion-dollar business. It is also easy to consume heavy caffeine from more than just coffee; you can find caffeine in more than 150 food products and 570 beverages. Caffeine is an addiction many often ignore, and because many reports and studies conflict, it is very hard to understand whether coffee and caffeine should be part of your life.
Have you ever considered life without caffeine? What if I told you that you couldn’t truly heal your body if you are regularly consuming coffee and caffeine?
Holistic nutritionists will often recommend the absolute elimination of caffeine from your diet, especially when following a supplementation protocol. The underlying reason for this is that caffeine is known to also lead to several negative deficiencies in the body, including the absorption of iron, calcium, and magnesium. It also depletes vitamin C and all the B vitamins, which are important for the adrenal glands. Caffeine is also known to mask the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Well, with November being American Diabetes Month, it is a good time to focus on the association between caffeine consumption and diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Caffeine Research in 2012 suggested that quitting coffee consumption could benefit patients with type 2 diabetes.
The small pilot study observed 12 coffee drinkers with type 2 diabetes who consumed more than two cups of coffee every day. The study tested the effects of caffeine abstinence on glucose control during a three-month period. The participants also completed a seven-day diary, which tracked their consumption of medications and beverages. Saliva samples were also collected to validate caffeine abstinence. The study found that there was a significant reduction of average glucose concentration (hemoglobin A1c) among the patients who quit drinking coffee for the entire time frame. This is a positive result for those with type 2 diabetes who tend to have high blood sugar.
Another study observed 10 healthy men who consumed five milligrams of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. The participants followed coffee consumption with a low- or high-glycemic index cereal. The researchers found that caffeinated coffee significantly impaired acute blood glucose management and insulin sensitivity when paired with a low- or high-glycemic index meal.
Other negative effects of caffeine may include:
- Energy depletion
- High blood pressure
- Fibrocystic breast lumps
- Irregular heartbeats
- Skin irritation
- Cardiovascular disease
How can you stop your coffee addiction? Most people don’t drink enough water. Replace your coffee with eight to 10 glasses of filtered water.
It is also a good idea to cut possible inflammatory triggers from your diet such as refined sugars, gluten, flours, alcohol, and dairy.
You can also replace coffee with adaptogen herbs, which are considered immunity enhancers that enhance adrenal gland function, regulate stress, and reduce anxiety. They also improve sleep quality and muscle tone, and they give an overall boost to your mood and state of well-being. On the other hand, stimulants such as caffeine will briefly increase your energy, followed by a crash. I enjoy adding adaptogens to teas and morning smoothies.
Some effective adaptogens include:
- Licorice root
- Rhodiola rosea
- Ginkgo biloba
- Reishi mushrooms
- Siberian ginseng
So challenge yourself for six weeks, and record how you feel in a journal. You may find that you don’t need that morning cup of coffee after all.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Lane, J.D., et al., “Pilot Study of Caffeine Abstinence for Control of Chronic Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes,” Journal of Caffeine Research March 2012; 2(1): 45–47, doi: 10.1089/jcr.2012.0003.
Moisey, L.L., et al., “Caffeinated coffee consumption impairs blood glucose homeostasis in response to high and low glycemic index meals in healthy men,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 2008; 87(5): 1254–1261.
Hyman, M., “10 Reasons to Quit Your Coffee!” The Huffington Post, July 1, 2012; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/quit-coffee_b_1598108.html.
“Adaptogen Herbs,” My Spice Blends web site; http://www.myspiceblends.com/glossary/herbal_properties_glossary/adaptogen.php, last accessed October 27, 2014.
“Toward a home test for detecting potentially dangerous levels of caffeine,” ScienceDaily web site, July 30, 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140730094304.htm.