Coffee – Friend or Foe?

coffee_thinkstock

It’s a tricky question. And honestly myself I have been back and forth on the issue. So I wanted to really find out…is coffee the good guy? Or the bad guy? It seems like every week/day/blog post there is a different opinion/contradiction/urban myth. It’s a minefield! So…what’s the deal?

Well, having looked into the matter turns out there are both pros and cons. And by that I mean it can either be beneficial or detrimental to your health. Coming from the land down under where café culture is a big thing (home of the Flat White and cult following to the soy latte) I have always enjoyed coffee. However, several articles I have read made me cut down and quit the habit altogether for a while and then come back around and reintroduce it into my diet. So here’s the low down. Coffee can stimulate your energy and alertness, brain function and neurotransmitters and metabolism in the short term and is a source of antioxidant activity against some free radicals inside the body. It can also help prevent type 2 diabetes (but don’t increase your sugar/soda intake this is not a one-in-one-out type of situation).

Basically caffeine wards off drowsiness by stimulating the central nervous system. It effectively pumps your body up so that you can get through the day. All good I think if you have your coffee hit in the morning, but if you are using it to get through the afternoon then it will still be in your body come night time which can lead to insomnia and disruptive sleeping patterns. No problem…if you wake up exhausted in the morning what do you do? Grab a coffee? Which leads me to the next bummer on coffee – it’s addictive. Caffeine withdrawal can produce headaches, fatigue and decreased alertness, while too much coffee can leave you feeling restless, anxious and irritable. Inevitably coffee becomes the mask to the fundamental issues within your body which need addressing (why are you tired/can’t wake up in the mornings/can’t sleep at night/afternoon slumping etc?)

So, what’s the skinny on your daily latte? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself). As always, just 3 things (actually it’s 2 things plus one 2-parter):

1. a) Enjoy your coffee in the morning (side note: it tastes even better sitting at a café eating a yummy healthy breakfast with the sun shining, but I realise this isn’t always an option).
b) If you can, keep it black. This keeps the anti-oxidant qualities intact. Adding milk can reduce the positive impact.

2. GO ORGANIC. (Coffee with a side of chemical fertilizers and pesticides? NO THANK YOU).

3. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Combat the caffeine dehydration and keep your skin looking clear and glow-ey? OK then.

If you have been living the coffee-gets-me-through-the-day scenario I’m not gonna lie. It hurts cutting back. But the benefit is that you will get back to your body’s natural state and pace. No more artificial pump-ups. Sleep better, less anxiety and ultimately better performance from your bod. Win-win I’d say.

PS – if you want to know exactly where in HK you can get the BEST coffee the gorgeous girls over at Bright Girls, Big City have done all the ground work for you! Check it out!

 

Image credit: Thinkstock

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