Nothing beats the smell of coffee first thing in the morning. From frothy lattes to buttery coffees, flavored coffee and even mushroom coffee, caffeine is a highly enjoyable and addictive substance.
I myself am a coffee lover, although my adrenals don’t particularly like it. They become overstimulated, excited and keep me awake at night.
Coffee always seems to be the last thing someone wants to ditch from their diet and I don’t blame them. Take out the sugar and processed foods and top that off by taking out coffee — that’s a tough feat for many! There are many benefits of drinking coffee which we’ll touch on shortly, but first, let me hit you with the bad news.
The Bad News
If your adrenals are fatigued and you’re a stress case, caffeine may not be your best friend. Caffeine works by affecting your body’s ability to break down adrenaline. That’s why you feel energized from it. And there’s a good chance your high-stress lifestyle or job is causing you to feel extremely exhausted, hence why you reach for coffee in the first place.
If you are using coffee to “wake up” in the morning or numerous times throughout the day, then this is a bad sign. Caffeine affects your adrenals by not giving them the full opportunity to heal properly. Plus, it increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which is the last thing you want if you are stressed in the first place. Aside from cortisol, caffeine also raises levels of adrenaline, another stress hormone along with substances such as interleukin-6, TNF, C-reactive protein and homocysteine, all of which are inflammatory compounds.
A Greek study from 2004 that involved over 3,000 participants found that those consuming 200 ml of coffee, roughly two cups a day, had between 28 and 50 percent higher levels of three kinds of inflammatory markers compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Not to mention, coffee also raises blood pressure, which I’m going to guess is probably already high due to your chronic stress.
Work on healing and nourishing your adrenal glands first, which could take months, before picking up a cup of coffee. This is imperative for balancing hormones, managing stress and reducing inflammation.
The Good News: HA! There is a Silver Lining!
On the positive side, coffee contains high amounts of antioxidants that help to support cellular repair and are great for mental focus and concentration.
Because it has a direct impact on adrenaline, coffee is great for athletes and their performance. Having a cup of coffee before hitting the gym can improve your exercise performance and endurance and is a great way to allow your body to utilize the adrenaline and caffeine in your system.
In fact, coffee is also a powerful thermogenic, helping to raise your body temperature. This allows you to burn more calories and it aids in weight loss. Just be sure you aren’t loading your coffee up with sugars, artificial sweeteners or hormone-laden dairy, which can alter your weight loss efforts and overall health.
Best Time of Day to Drink Coffee?
If coffee is the first thing you put into your body when you wake up in the morning, you may not like my suggestion. But the truth is, starting your day with a jolt of caffeine overstimulates your cardiovascular system, affects digestion and increases your stress hormones. You can have your coffee, but make sure it’s after breakfast. Nourish your body first with nutrient-dense food and then enjoy your cup of java. After a long night of sleeping, your cells have had the ability to repair and rejuvenate. The last thing you want to do is affect your detoxification pathways with caffeine. So make sure you consume food first, coffee second.
Now, let’s talk quality. Many cheap and low-grade coffees on the market contain mold, otherwise known as mycotoxins. It isn’t necessarily the caffeine we react to, although it does play a role, but more so the mold that grows on the coffee bean itself, which can cause inflammation and hypertension. If you’re consuming cheap coffee on the regular, there is a good chance it contains mold and is quite bitter.
Organic and fair trade are better options, as it will ensure your beans are grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides. When purchasing coffee, it’s important to know how the beans were harvested, where they were harvested, whether they were hand-picked, and how they were roasted. These are just a few things to look for when sourcing a high quality coffee.
Ideally, you want single-source beans that have not been blended with other beans. Combining beans means you could have a mixture of moldy beans and toxins. Also, make sure the roasting process is done in small batches and carefully monitored so as to avoid toxins and mold, which commonly happens during the roasting process.
A few other things to note about coffee quality and making a quality brew is to take into account the amount of time that has elapsed since the beans were ground, the time when they were roasted and the equipment used for brewing. If you are purchasing high-quality coffee beans from a local store and freshly grinding them there yourself with their grinder, there is a good chance other beans have been ground in the same grinder and you could be mixing your high-quality beans with low-quality beans.
Grinding your beans at home with your own coffee grinder is the best way to ensure a clean cup of java and a very fresh brew. If you’ve been drinking low-grade coffee and thinking of making the switch to a better quality brand, then please do so! Or, if you’re thinking of ditching the coffee altogether in an attempt to heal your adrenals, I would start by cutting back by one cup at a time.
Start slow. Focus on cutting back just on one cup for 5 days straight, then another cup the following 5 days and so on, until you’re down to zero! It’s common to experience headaches while cutting back on coffee. Give yourself a few days and this will subside.
Increase your water intake, incorporate a fresh-pressed juice and support your body and detoxification with nutritious foods to help your body recover faster. In the end, it will be worth it! Your adrenals will start to work more efficiently, meaning your body will be better able to handle stress.
In the end, whether to enjoy a cup of coffee or not truly comes down to your own personal health issues and current stress levels. It really doesn’t hurt to give your body a break and to experience how you feel off of caffeine. Otherwise, if you can’t ditch this delicious habit, be sure to purchase high-quality, organic coffee, and grind your beans at home.