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To caffeinate or not to caffeinate, that IS the question. Actually, it’s one of the most commonly asked questions and the answers certainly vary. If only the answer were a simple yes or no.
Caffeine can be quite contradicting when it comes to your health and wellness because of its many effects. Some of these effects being pretty awesome and some being not so awesome. Today we want to explore the many pros and cons of caffeine to help you understand what might be right for you. One thing to remember is that everyone’s body chemistry is unique and each person metabolizes differently so just something to keep that in mind.
Ahh coffee… the most notorious vessel for caffeine. Now-a-days, coffee isn’t just a morning routine or an afternoon pick me up, it is an all-day affair.
Coffee actually falls into the category of medicinal herbs. And although coffee has no caloric or nutritional value, it still holds medicinal properties that alter the chemistry of your body which effects the different systems within your body.
Coffee is used as medicine in three primary ways:
The obvious reason that we caffeinate is to be energized and alert. Another obvious reason that we caffeinate is because it has become a habit. Just like we become addicted to a runners high, we also become addicted to the mid-morning, afternoon and evening coffee run.
The third reason is not talked about as openly as the others. Make no mistake though, many people rely on coffee daily as a natural laxative and diuretic.
Whether you’re feeling sluggish, tired or constipated, coffee has the ability to be the cure-all.
While some view coffee as an amazing cure-all, others beg to differ. In general, it’s difficult to categorize a natural substance as just good or bad, especially one as complex as coffee.
Those with daily coffee habits have been found to experience quite a few negative effects. Some of them being anxiety, depression, nutritional deficiencies, insomnia, indigestion and irritability.
Part of the reason these problems occur is because coffee stimulates cortisol production causing our body to become overstressed. It also agitates and worsens certain conditions like hormonal imbalances and overworked adrenal systems. On the plus side, coffee will only cause the worsening of these issues if you’re already experiencing them.
The gist of coffee’s negative effects really depends on the current condition of your body. If you’re under high amounts of stress, looking to coffee for energy will only make things worse by stealing reserve energy from your kidneys and adrenals.
We mentioned earlier that some use coffee for its laxative effects. While this may help in the short-term, it can cause constipation in the long-term.
Coffee is a diuretic which means that it can cause dehydration. If you are a daily coffee drinker and notice that you are having trouble in the bathroom, lay off the caffeine and up your water intake.
If you’re experiencing any of the negative effects that coffee can cause, don’t panic. There are many wonderful alternatives to coffee that you can indulge in while you take a java break.
Caffeine-free but still robust enough to trick the senses, there are a number of herbal coffee alternatives to choose from such as Mountain Rose Herb’s Herbal Coffee made from chicory, dandelion, carob and maca.
Hot Maca Mocha
Mix a 2 tsps of maca root powder
+ a 2 TBSP of cacao powder in hot almond milk for a creamy, chocolately coffee alternative. Add a touch of honey and cinnamon for taste. Maca will boost your adrenals giving you a natural pick-me-up
effect without the crash.
A mental superfood that helps with brain fog, matcha is a powerful coffee alternative. While matcha does have caffeine, this is not the primary source of its energy-boosting abilities. Matcha contains an amino acid known as l-theanine, which helps improve alertness and boost your mood while also lowering stress.
Hot Lemon Water
It’s clear that hot lemon water does not have caffeine and tastes nothing like coffee, however, what it does have is the ability to boost your liver and kick start your body & metabolism for the day. It’s tart, tangy and actually very enjoyable first thing in the morning. Try it with a touch of cayenne and honey.
Make It Bulletproof
Bulletproof has set off a massive emerging trend with it’s Bulletproof Coffee fueled by high quality beans, grass-fed butter or ghee (your choice) & MCT Oil. Created to supercharge your brain function, it’s a great way to get healthy fats into your body first thing in the morning. Want the recipe? Click here. If you’re dairy-free, opt for ghee (clarified butter – the lactose & milk solids are removed).
The net net is to listen to your body. Some people are highly sensitive to caffeine in the morning and can only tolerate a small amount early afternoon if at all. If that’s you, don’t ignore the signs. For those who have no issues tolerating coffee or other caffeinated beverages, the most important thing to remember is to keep an eye on your water intake as these drinks will most certainly dehydrate you. Morning coffee, fine, bulletproof coffee with healthy fats, better, matcha almond milk latte, a sure win but don’t forget that H20 friends!
The Blendtopia Team