Benefits of Coffee

Coffee has a number of health benefits! It provides energy, enhanced alertness, concentration and an overall feeling of happiness. Coffee contains large amounts of magnesium, which helps you feel calm, B vitamins and also acts as an antioxidant which helps protect cells from damage!

"Coffee is a potent metabolic stimulator and must be viewed as such. The caffeine in coffee is powerful and can act like thyroid to increase your metabolic rate and the oxidation of sugar, making it a health-protective food. Coffee also has supportive nutrients in the form of B vitamins and magnesium and is a welcome companion to meat-containing meals for adults since it helps inhibit iron absorption.

These characteristics make coffee a useful tool in your health toolbox provided that you’re taking the right steps to maximize effectiveness. This blog describes what to expect when you’re doing coffee the right way and offers a handful of tips to help if you’re “coffee intolerant."[1]

Some say "Coffee gives me jitters. I feel anxious after having coffee." or "Coffee gives me headaches." There are a lot more reasons people give when discussing their inability to handle and enjoy their coffee drink. Yes, it is true that coffee can cause problems such as the ones just described. Just like everything, context matters and there are a bunch of variables to take into consideration when trying to understand why something isn't working. Explore what the real reason could be when you feel coffee isn't working for you, but against you.

Lets explore why coffee might be harming, rather than helping:

1.) BLACK COFFEE BY ITSELF: Coffee revs up your engine (bodies metabolic rate) and this increases the bodies need for glucose. As a result, it can cause blood sugar dysregulation, which will cause stress hormones (such as adrenaline) to rise, often contributing to the jittery effect that you feel taking place.
2.) DRINKING TOO FAST: Drinking coffee too fast can cause the body to react negatively. Regardless of it being good for you, it can overload the system and bring about negative outcomes.

Tips to help coffee work for you, rather than against you:

1.) CREAM AND SUGAR: Adding cream and sugar to coffee will help maintain steady blood sugar levels by slowing down the rapid absorption in your cells. This will help ensure that coffee gradually increases energy in a supportive long lasting effect, without the sudden adrenaline rush and crash later in the day.
2.) DRINK IT WITH A BALANCED MEAL: Consuming coffee with a balanced meal that contains protein, carbohydrate  and fat is a great way to prevent the negative reactions of coffee. When consumed with a balanced meal, the coffee can be consumed black if you prefer it without the sugar and cream because it will be balanced by the meal.
3.) ADD COFFEE TO YOUR MILK: Instead of having a big batch of coffee and adding some cream and sugar to it, you can start small and slow with the coffee by adding a very small amount to your milk. The more your body adapts to it, the more you can gradually increase the amount, based on how you feel and your response to that amount.
4.) SIP SLOWLY: Don't just gulp the whole drink down very rapidly. Take some time to drink it. Allowing the body to digest it slowly. This can help alleviate common symptoms such as blood sugar dysregulation and the jitters.

COFFEE DONE RIGHT:

"Symptoms to expect when you do coffee right are calmness, focus, motivation, warmth, and stable energy. Coffee done wrong leads to anxiety, shakiness, sweating, feeling wired, inability to focus, and sometimes cold extremities. Truthfully there is no right or wrong because whether you react well or not, the situation serves as a learning tool if you’re knowledgeable and aware enough to assess and correct the symptoms."[1]

“In animal experiments that have been used to argue that pregnant women shouldn’t drink coffee, large doses of caffeine given to pregnant animals retarded the growth of the fetuses. But simply giving more sucrose prevented the growth retardation. Since caffeine tends to correct some of the metabolic problems that could interfere with pregnancy, it is possible that rationally constructed experiments could show benefits to the fetus from the mother’s use of coffee, for example by lowering bilirubin and serotonin, preventing hypoglycemia, increasing uterine perfusion and progesterone synthesis, synergizing with thyroid and cortisol to promote lung maturation, and providing additional nutrients.

Often, a woman who thinks that she has symptoms of hypoglycemia says that drinking even the smallest amount of coffee makes her anxious and shaky. Sometimes, I have suggested that they try drinking about two ounces of coffee with cream or milk along with a meal. It’s common for them to find that this reduces their symptoms of hypoglycemia, and allows them to be symptom-free between meals. Although we don’t know exactly why caffeine improves an athlete’s endurance, I think the same processes are involved when coffee increases a person’s “endurance” in ordinary activities.

Caffeine has remarkable parallels to thyroid and progesterone, and the use of coffee or tea can help to maintain their production, or compensate for their deficiency. Women spontaneously drink more coffee premenstrually, and since caffeine is known to increase the concentration of progesterone in the blood and in the brain, this is obviously a spontaneous and rational form of self-medication, though medical editors like to see things causally reversed, and blame the coffee drinking for the symptoms it is actually alleviating. Some women have noticed that the effect of a progesterone supplement is stronger when they take it with coffee. This is similar to the synergy between thyroid and progesterone, which is probably involved, since caffeine tends to locally activate thyroid secretion by a variety of mechanisms, increasing cyclic AMP and decreasing serotonin in thyroid cells, for example, and also by lowering the systemic stress mediators."[2]

1. Coffee Done Right – Tips to Help Avoid Coffee Intolerance by Rob Turner (Functional Performance Systems)
2. Caffeine: A vitamin-like nutrient, or adaptogen by Raymond Peat, PhD.
3. The Benefits of Drinking Coffee by EastWest Healing
4. Ray Peat Inspired Nutrition – Coffee by Danny Roddy (The Danny Roddy Weblog)