Can coffee consumption simply benefit health all on its own? Or are there other factors to consider? Several articles and studies as of late have linked coffee consumption with liver protection, especially against a very rare autoimmune liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis. What strikes me about these articles is their singular focus on the consumption of coffee, even up to 4 cups per day, without addressing any other dietary or lifestyle alterations or considerations.
Other articles, especially an article run in Forbes last fall called “Caffeine, the silent killer of emotional intelligence” point out the over-all detrimental effects of coffee and caffeine on the system, not only physically, with adrenal exhaustion and increased blood pressure, but the psycho-emotional effects including shortening the temper, lowering your ‘normal’ (the cognitive space you are used to functioning at) and addiction.
So what is the answer when it comes to coffee consumption, cause if you love it, you love it and it’s not just as easy as ‘1,2,3’ to let it go, right? Articles that point out health benefits to anything we enjoy are going to get ‘points’ in our book, because they validate behavior we already engage in happily. To the contrary, those write-ups that tell us to stop doing things we love, even if they sound intelligent, are more likely to be passed off as ‘not for us’. We all can agree with this, can we not?
When looking at the ‘big’ coffee picture, perhaps we can agree that there are positive and negative outcomes to any decision we make, based on the other choices we are making simultaneously. So, if we are skipping meals, drinking coffee all day, taking medication to help us sleep, ant-acids to calm our stomachs down, forgetting to drink water and pursuing an aggressive relationship with anyone in our lives without thought that our diet may be affecting us, maybe we have some adjustments to make.
In the field of natural medicine it is well known that coffee is acid-forming in the body. This should come as no surprise, as the feeling in the stomach will sometimes confirm. An acidic system is generally more prone to health problems and dis-ease in the body. If, however, you enjoy a cup of coffee now and then, or even daily, but you ALSO provide your body with a generous amount of alkalizing foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of pure water, your body has the fuel it needs to maintain harmony and balance within the system.
The articles and research touting coffee as a great liver protector are failing to mention the variety of other methods we can protect and assist the liver in maintaining health and proper function. For example, a regular ‘liver cleanse’ with herbs such as the commonly known ‘weed’, dandelion root coupled with other plant-medicines like burdock root and milk thistle can help prevent unhealthy liver conditions and support liver health. In cases where primary sclerosing cholangitis is a concern or an issue to you personally, a recommended diet of largely raw vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, is highly recommended by Dr. Sandra Cabot, author of “The Liver Cleansing Diet”. Since primary sclerosing cholangitis is an inflammatory condition, anti-inflammatory support is recommended from foods like turmeric, ginger, and those items high in selenium like brazil nuts and sunflower seeds.
Coffee itself is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’. It all depends on how you use it and what else you are doing to support your body, mind and emotions. If you enjoy your cup of coffee, perhaps just take a look at the amount of water you drink in the day, as coffee is a natural diuretic and causes your body to lose water. Drinking large amounts of coffee without proper hydration can lead to other issues linked to dehydration. According to Fereydoon Batmanghelidj’s book “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”, much of the illness we experience today could be the cause of simple dehydration, including headaches, acid-reflux, insomnia, achy joints, allergies, etc. The list goes on.
Another thing to consider with regular coffee intake is the time of day that you are drinking it and what foods you are complementing your beverage of choice with. Early morning is obviously the best time of day if you are drinking caffeine, as coffee can take anywhere from 6-15 hours to leave your system. There is a supplement on the market today called Rutaesomn, derived from the Evodia fruit, that kicks out the caffeine so you can sleep.
Coffee, though it is addictive, offers many of us pleasantries that we are not so ready to release, such as delightful experiences with peers or a rainy day, a boost when we need one, or the simple enjoyment of the roasted aroma.
Without surrendering completely your cup of joe, nor blindly following the guidance that coffee prevents certain ailments all on its own, let us enjoy all of our food choices with wisdom and consciousness. For no one ‘super-substances’ protects us entirely.
By: Stasia Bliss