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Coffee- Are you hooked?

While observational studies show some potential benefits of coffee, it is important to respect the nature of coffee as a potent psychoactive stimulating herbal medicine. Small amounts on occasion when you really need it is ok, but becoming dependent on it for energy can cause problems to your health.

Most detrimentally, it affects our sleep. It blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, making us feel more awake, but as it wears off, our true tiredness overwhelms (a coffee-crash), and it blocks deep sleep. Its half-life (the time it takes for blood levels to drop by half) can be up to 6 hours, meaning it can still be in your system during the night and affect quality of sleep, even if it doesn’t stop you from getting to sleep.

Do you feel fully refreshed when you wake up? Or do you NEED a coffee to pull you through?

While coffee beans are naturally very high in antioxidants, the roasting of the raw ‘cherries’ (to enhance flavour) depletes their antioxidant content, and produces acrylamides and PAH’s which are known carcinogens.

As one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity, and some cancers are associated with its use. I’m not saying that coffee=cancer, I am saying the pesticides heavily used on coffee crops have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Coffee increases the release of our master stress hormone cortisol, affecting blood sugar levels, fatigue, fat storage, suppressing immune cell function and fertility.

Any other not so great side effects of coffee I hear you Ask? Well yes..... it increases stomach acid production= reflux, if drank with meals reduces the absorption of minerals, leaches minerals from bone to buffer acidity= lowers bone density, is a catalyst for anxiety and increased blood pressure, etc……

These are all the down sides in a nut shell but maybe you feel totally fine on coffee and none of the above applies? There has also been some research to suggest a protective effect of coffee for reducing the risk of alzheimers. So it really is one of those things we don't fully understand yet and you may need to just go on how you feel on and off of coffee.

I really enjoy a coffee but have gone from total dependence and over-use to the occasional barista coffee every few months, when I really need it. If you need to cut down, you could try a caffeine-free alternative such as dandelion root coffee or try out some herbal teas, but make sure to cut down slowly to avoid harsh withdrawal symptoms. Do you have a post-coffee success story? 👇 Annie x


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