I wish there were a clear answer, but coffee comes in many shades of…brown!

    Some people bounce off the walls if they have a cup after midday.  Others cannot function without it.  A few lucky ones (Europeans like me especially!) can drink a double espresso after dinner and sleep like a baby. 

    Why such different reactions to the same thing? Because we’re all genetically different and so are our lifestyles, health, body type, metabolism, and gender.

    Many shades of brown

    On the one hand, coffee gives you energy short term and can boost alertness, mood, concentration, metabolism, and fitness performance.   According to some studies, it can even prevent diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as relieve asthma symptoms.

    On the other hand, caffeine interferes with your body’s natural production of energy, causing addiction, and down the line, a whole bunch of other health-related issues, especially for women. 

    This glorious bean can lead us to cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, increased levels of stress, blood sugar swings, accelerated aging, and nutritional deficiencies among men and women alike.  When it comes to women, osteoporosis, fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, infertility, and menopausal symptoms are all good reasons to decrease your consumption if you don't want to give it up for good.  It's all about balance!

    What to do?

    You can start by considering important factors such as your genes, overall health, unique metabolism, lifestyle, level of addiction, and life priorities and goals.  Here is some food for thought so you can make an informed decision.

    Your genes and gender matter…a lot!
    Only 10% of the population can make enough of the enzyme that metabolizes caffeine.  If you’re part of the unlucky 90%, you’re at a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack if you consume more than 2 cups a day. Considering women’s number one killer is heart disease, testing your genes can be eye-opening but there is another less sophisticated way to know where you fall.  If you suffer from PMS, PCOS, fibroids, or endometriosis, you're more likely to be in the 90% bucket. Women are fantastically designed to conserve more energy from the nutrients we take in and hold fluids longer than men.  This means that we metabolize chemicals slower, and when it comes to coffee and alcohol, that can negatively affect our health.  Women on the birth control pill are particularly at risk as they have a harder time to detox.  
    The so-called coffee’s health benefits
    Acting as a stimulant, caffeine can give you short term energy, and if you’re an athlete, it will allow you to exercise longer without hitting exhaustion.  How does this happen? Caffeine decreases the use of glycogen (the primary source of fuel for muscle performance) by up to 50% and releases B-endorphins, so you have more fuel longer and no muscle pain. In addition, the antioxidants in coffee can prevent a number of diseases and stabilize free radicals.  
    Coffee can also be a trouble maker
    Its diuretic properties can cause constipation, bloating, and gas and diarrhea can also happen when gut muscles get too contracted.  If you suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn's disease, or colitis, you want to be extra cautious. Drinking more than 2 cups a day can deplete you from calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and trace minerals and potentially lead to osteoporosis and other conditions.  This happens because coffee inhibits the absorption of these key nutrients. Caffeine can also stimulate your adrenals too much and make them exhausted, showing up as inflammation and fatigue.  This is especially true if you take sugar with it, a dangerous combination that floods your body with stress hormones resulting in weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalance. Last but not least, coffee accelerates aging by speeding up the natural decreasing production of DHEA, melatonin, and other vital hormones to keep you looking young and your skin supple.  
    How to give up coffee in 7 days

    If after reading all this you feel coffee is ruling your life and decide to take a break for a few weeks and detox, or even better, give it up for good, here are some ideas to avoid withdrawal symptoms as much as possible.

    • Days 1-2, take a 50/50 mix of caffeinated and decaf coffee or drink half the amount you usually drink.
    • Days 3-4, replace coffee with Matcha tea, decaf or dandelion, and chicory root blends.
    • Days 5-7, drink herbal or caffeinated teas.
    Don’t want to give it up just yet? You can always improve your relationship with it
    • Choose organic.  Coffee is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed food crops in the world. 
    • Shade grown is the next best option after organic.  It is less bitter and also less chemically sprayed.
    • Add fat to it to help your blood sugar cope with the caffeine.  The "Bulletproof Coffee" has become very popular. How to make it: blend 1 cup of high-quality organic coffee with 1 tbsp of organic coconut or MCT oil or a bit of grass-fed butter or ghee (and if you like cinnamon).  It’s meant to keep you satisfied and mentally sharp while cutting cravings.
    Are you ready for a detox challenge, or even better, a complete diet reset? Book a free 20-minute consultation and work with me to get your strategy aligned with your goals.
    Olga Casabona

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