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Navigate the dark waters of coffee - Health claims versus reality

Monday, April 18, 2011 by: Paula Rothstein
Tags: coffee, health, health news

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(NewsTarget) For many stressed out and exhausted adults, there is no moment of the day more appealing than one which merges bold taste with an infusion of energy via a hot cup of coffee. However, this particular union has a great deal of depth to its dark waters. And like all great love affairs, there is an equally great crash which follows closely on the heels of bliss. When it comes to the subject of coffee and its effect on health, it is a relationship fraught with division and confusion over claims vs. realty.

Food science is a notoriously elastic subject with studies performed all the time meant to serve an agenda. An estimated 400 million cups are consumed each day, making it the number one drink consumed in the United States. Therefore, it is no surprise that with so much profit to be made, coffee studies are a frequent pawn in the hands of food marketers. As a result, this little bean held in the hands of a marketer appears to be something akin to a health drink. For every study advancing coffee's risk, it is quickly answered with a study conveniently featuring its positive attributes.

The most recent study extolling the benefits of coffee was conducted by the Karlinska Institute in Stockholm. This study followed 35,000 women for 10 years and concluded that drinking one to two cups of coffee each day reduced the risk of stroke. The results of this study are suspect, as Gary Schwitzer, Editor-In-Chief of MayoClinic.com and health journalist, aptly pointed out: this popular study is an "observational study that does not prove cause or effect."

So, who do you believe? You should start with your own body. What is it telling you? Are you having difficulty falling asleep at night? Are you hungry after every meal? Do you need an afternoon nap? If so, you could be one of many coffee drinkers suffering from adrenal fatigue brought on by daily consumption.

The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production, primarily cortisol. Following that first cup of coffee, your adrenals have been shocked and made ready to proceed as though under duress, releasing "fight or flight" stress hormones which can literally burn your adrenal glands out over time. Daily consumption, especially in large quantities, fatigues the adrenals, thus putting metabolic pathways off balance which in turn leads to irregular blood sugar levels.

Another not often mentioned problem with respect to coffee is that it depletes your supply of Vitamin B6, B2, and folic acid levels - vitamins known for their ability to enhance energy. In fact, increasing vitamin intake, specifically Vitamin B, would be a useful alternative to drinking coffee.

Whether or not coffee is better than it is bad, one specific exception supersedes all positives. If you suffer from any sort of systemic inflammatory condition, such as gut dysbiosis, there is recent research which shows the proteins in coffee are cross-reactive with gluten antibodies. You most definitely would want to avoid coffee entirely if this were the case.

We often make friends of our foes and foes of our friends. No doubt, this perplexing relationship, which we have with coffee, will continue in varying forms and degrees. Happily, there are alternatives that bolster our energy and sharpen our mind that have a much more positive effect on our health. One day, should you entirely give up coffee, you may look back on your troubled relationship with this stimulant and be glad you tossed it over for a better friend.



About the author

Paula Rothstein is a freelance writer and certified holistic health coach active in the area of natural health and health freedom advocacy. As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she has gained insight into the political nature of food, the failings of a drug-dependent healthcare system, and the uniqueness of individual health. For more information, please visit: http://www.medicinefreeliving.com.

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