Coffee? Is it a good thing?

When clients come to see me they are often worried that I will take their coffee away from them!

This is not always the case unless there is a really good reason. Sometimes it will be about reducing the amount or changing it to black by reducing the milk content.

I am a coffee drinker and have been for a long while so I understand your reluctance to remove coffee from your daily routine. I have moved from cow’s milk to soy and also a long black.

But is coffee good for you?

Coffee is a stimulant that can increase the production of gastric acid and gastrin release, which effectively increases hydrochloric acid (HCL) production. Which could be considered a good thing!

But this stimulus can also increase anxiety for those who suffer from it and it can affect your sleep, especially if you have it late at night.

Good gut function relies on a healthy environment. This requires a good level of  HCL to allow healthy break down of nutrients to take place, to have a functioning gut lining, healthy mucosa and a good balance of microbiota.

Most people complain that coffee, first thing in the morning, sends them straight to the bathroom!

This is because of gastric emptying.

The research around this is conflicting but it has been found that if you have a solid meal before having your morning cup of coffee you will slow the gastric emptying. This is positive because if you empty your gastric contents first thing in the morning before food, you also remove all the gastric juices that are required to digest your food. You don’t want to do this to your gut.

So my recommendation is to always eat something before you take your morning coffee. I also suggest to remove the cows milk and replace with almond, soy or coconut (depending on other conditions) or better still have it black. Sugar is prohibited along with any other artificial sweetener.

Besides all this about how to take your coffee, does it have any benefits?

Yes it does. It contains some B vitamins along with manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also full of antioxidants.

It can provide energy and improve mental fatigue. It may help protect you from diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and dementia, parkinsons and some cancers. It may help with depression although to many coffees can have the opposite affect on mood.

Although coffee can increase blood pressure and therefore cardio vascular risk, it can lower the risk of stroke. If you suffer from high blood pressure then perhaps coffee is not the drink for you otherwise it has some benefits to longevity.

Overall coffee does have many benefits, but it also depends on how you drink it and how much you consume. If you are a person that has over 4 cups per day with cow’s milk then I would suggest some changes. You also have to remember if you are getting your caffeine hit at a coffee shop and order a medium or large size beverage then you are likely getting 2-4 serves of coffee per drink. If you have a couple of those per day it really starts to add up.

So the straight answer is:  if you are having 1-2 cups of black coffee per day on a full stomach after food then the benefits outweigh the negatives.

So how do you take your coffee?

References

Atenodoro R. Ruiz, Jr, MD. (2018). Overview of Malabsorption – Gastrointestinal Disorders. Retrieved May 12, 2018, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-au/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/malabsorption-syndromes/overview-of-malabsorption

Boekema, P. J., Samsom, M., van Berge Henegouwen, G. P., & Smout, A. J. (1999). Coffee and gastrointestinal function: facts and fiction. A review. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. Supplement, 230, 35–39.

 

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