Long black, macchiato, flat white, cappuccino, latte, mocha, caramel latte, cold dripped…. the last decade the coffee culture has been on the rising. For many it kicks starts the day and keeps you going. Coffee has some great health benefits but has also got some downsides. Clinical Nutritionist and holistic health coach Jan Denecke shares insights about coffee and some great alternatives for those who want to wind down from it.
Coffee consumption is one of those subjects that I regularly discuss with my clients in clinic especially clients who experience high stress in their life.
Caffeine from coffee stimulates neuron activity in the brain where neurons send messages to the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol; our fight and flight hormones. Short term effects of coffee therefor enhance mood, alertness/concentration and exercise performance.
Several studies show that daily coffee intake in moderation of 1-2 cups a day will not affect major jumps in cortisol however very stressful lives with busy working days, deadlines and on top performances could affect stress responses. When our body and mind are under constant pressure, chronic stress will deplete our cortisol reserves. Coffee can worsen this. That is why I always recommend clients who are under enormous stress to reduce coffee intake.
Coffee, however, can also be addictive as it increases Dopamine a neurotransmitter that gives us a feeling of being rewarded. That is why I advise heavy coffee drinkers to slowly reduce their coffee intake.
But is coffee bad? No!
Coffee contains polyphenols which is a rich antioxidant. This antioxidant has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity and with that protect against Diabetes Type 2, to support in weight gain. Other protective benefits have been suggested towards Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes and liver disease.
Some things, however, are important to keep in mind:
- Coffee suppresses appetite and might therefor reduce food intake and with that necessary nutrients to stay alert and awake. So be aware of the addictive effects of coffee and where it can become a food replacement.
- Coffee can reduce the absorption of calcium that’s why I recommend to drink coffee at least one hour separated from food
- If you drink coffee, drink it at the start of the day! This reduces the chance of sleep difficulty.
- Green tea and in particular Matcha latte: it is a different taste and you definitely need to get used to it but Matcha powder, has the highest amount of antioxidants of all green teas. It cab support in weight loss, liver detox and memory and alertness. A matcha hit provides 34mg of caffeine, which is the same as a cup of brewed coffee and half the amount of an espresso, however, the tea’s buzz is much more energising and longer-lasting. It’s thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine, which slows the release of caffeine and has a calming, relaxing effect.
- Bullet proof coffee: is a coffee blended with some grass fed butter and coconut oil or MTC. The fats slow down the absorption of caffeine which keeps you alert, wakeful and concentrated for a longer amount of time. Those who are doing intermitted fasting might find bullet proof coffee a better solution to stay on the fast. The fats support satiety, help sustain blood sugar levels, and support cortisol production.
Jan is a passionate nutritionist located in the Rozelle Health Space clinic. He has years of experience in the health industry. Starting in his home country of the Netherlands, Jan was an editor of a health and weight loss magazine before migrating to Australia. He is also a qualified yoga instructor. He has a special interest in weight loss, hormonal issues, digestive health and allergies. Reach him at the Rozelle clinic on 9810 8769.