Food for Thought: Introducing Coffee
I get it; this is a controversial one. There are all kinds of opinions out there about coffee being good or bad for health – and it seems like the opinions change all the time! You’d have to have a cup of java just to keep up with everything that’s out there.
While I realize coffee is a beverage, fluid intake is an important part of the diet, so occasionally a drink will pop up in this blog, with one important exception – water. I don’t think there are too many people out there that would disagree with water being good for everyone, especially since we know the body is mostly made of water.
Readers, you probably know that coffee comes from a plant – specifically, a bean. It’s an important element of our trade system in the United States. Whether you’re a loyal Starbucks attendee or a frequent flyer of niche local coffee shops, most people have strong feelings toward coffee and tried and true favorite brews.
Our Cups Runneth Over: The Coffee Debate
Coffee has some obvious side effects – notably, the stimulant thing. It wakes you up and that’s why so many of us self-prescribe coffee to start up our days. However, there could be some detriment to getting too invested in the daily coffee grind.
+ Coffee Wakes You Up
I already mentioned this, but it’s definitely what keeps people coming back for more coffee. For someone with thyroid fog or just having a hard time getting things moving in the morning, coffee’s pick-me-up power is hard to match.
+ Coffee is a Mood Booster
The stimulation provided by coffee makes people happy! That explains why so many people are cranky when they don’t get their daily dose, and why so many of us feel oh so much better once we get that first sip.
– Coffee Increases Anxiety
That stimulant thing has its dark side. It turns out that the symptoms produced by caffeine – increased heart rate, sweating, insomnia, or a general sense of feeling “wired” or “keyed up” creates a response in the brain that makes your brain believe you’re experiencing high anxiety. Since the symptoms of high anxiety imitate those of too much caffeine, the brain, sadly, can’t always tell the difference.
– Coffee can Hurt the Adrenal Glands
Over time, large amounts of coffee can wreak havoc on these glands. Resting atop the kidneys, the adrenal glands produce stress hormones like cortisol and, you guessed it, adrenaline. Coffee increases production of these hormones, which can aggravate these glands over time. Needless to say, stressing out glands that help with stress regulation can cause a whole mess of problems.
The Secret Ingredient: Coffee as a Remedy
This ingredient is probably the cause of most of the debate over coffee. The stimulation produced by that magic in a mug is due to caffeine.
Much like one of my recent Foods of the Week, dark chocolate, most seem to believe that a little caffeine goes a long way, but it can be really easy to overdo the intake of it. This is partly because caffeine can cause dependence, which means that using caffeine regularly can lead to needing more of it to achieve desired results like a boost in mood or energy. However, if used in moderation, caffeine can boost serotonin levels in the brain and yield boosts in mood and energy that don’t come with the cost of dependence or exhaustion of our friends, the adrenal glands.
Will coffee be a great start to my day, or be more trouble than it’s worth? Come back next week for The Findings!
Sources for this Post