Ah… coffee. Often referred to as liquid gold, a daily staple for many both at work and at home. Coffee is so engrained in our culture and way of life that few can even fathom life without it. First thing in the morning, mid-morning and in the afternoon to help re-energise for the rest of the day. It’s what gets our days started, a reason to catch up with friends and part of corporate life.
Coffee is a lifestyle.
We all know that coffee is full of antioxidants and deliciousness – but is it healthy overall? How much is too much? Many of us will be well aware of the unhinged nervous and sometimes restless feeling that we can get when we drink a little too much of it. It’s common knowledge that coffee contains caffeine – a naturally occurring psychoactive stimulant that excites our central nervous system making us feel more alert and more energised.
Research has shown that consuming coffee has certain health benefits:
- improved alertness, short-term recall and reaction time
- improved mood and lessened chance of depression
- reduced risk of certain brain diseases including Parkinsons and Alzheimers
- metabolism boosting support
- improved exercise performance
- may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancers and type 2 diabetes
- good for promoting liver health, gut health and longevity
But when does it become TOO MUCH? Are you drinking too much coffee?
As a general rule – adults should not exceed 4 cups of coffee per day. Personally I believe this is still too much. While there are many health benefits to coffee, it is still a stress on the body, and in my opinion the less unnecessary stress we put ourselves under the better, especially considering how much we’re generally under nowadays anyway! I recommend becoming aware of how your body responds to coffee, and using that as a guide for how much you should be having. Depending on how sensitive you are to caffeine, excessive coffee may make you jittery, agitated, increase your blood pressure and cause you to experience heart palpitations and even sleeplessness at night. Caffeine is an addictive substance which means that headaches, nausea and tiredness may ensue if your body doesn’t receive it’s beloved cup of coffee. Also consider why you want a coffee – is it because you love the taste or the experience, or is it because you’re tired and you feel like you need it? If it’s the latter then perhaps it’s time to assess your coffee consumption as the chance are you’ve become reliant on it.
I’ll never forget when my partner, Matteo, decided to give up coffee. He’s Italian, so basically grew up on the stuff and was consistently having 6 – 8 shots per day. I have never seen him in such a mess – on the first day he had absolutely no energy, couldn’t get off the couch or stay awake, could barely talk to me and even vomited a couple of times. For the following week or so he then experienced extreme headaches. It was a real eye opener for me to see just how addictive it can be.
Another important element with coffee is to consider what you add to your favourite mug – sugar, sweetener, cream? Adding sugar and calorie laden milky mixtures can detract from the original health benefits if you aren’t careful.
So there you have it folks! With so many benefits attributed to a healthy level of consumption, you can blissfully enjoy your cup of coffee – provided it isn’t your 10th today!