The Truth about Coffee

Coffee gets a back rap, especially among Yogi’s.
I am not going to tell you what’s best for your body and your intentions, but as a coffee drinker, I am a proponent of coffee. Black coffee, that is. I enjoy the ritual of it all and appreciate the whole process – from the growing of the cherries at the origin country, to the buttery smell of the fresh grind, the holding of my mug (especially in the winter), the daily conversation with Chris or if he’s not home, the silence of the morning as I ease into the day.

While I do enjoy my coffee, I can also do without it. I don’t get that caffeine withdrawal that some people report. I definitely have coffee most days, but there have been plenty of times I have done without it too. During my first yoga teacher training, coffee was not available. At that time instant coffee was not yet the quality it is today and I didn’t want the hassle and mess of brewing coffee for myself every day at camp (yes we slept in tents).
After hearing so much conflicting information I decided to consult a Coffee Scientist and asked him once and for all what is the truth about coffee?
His response for the most part was positive,
“The outcome of coffee consumption is almost entirely beneficial. There are however a few drawbacks that could effect specific populations.”

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Here are a few Pros & Cons:

PROS

Protection Against Certain Cancers

It has been reported that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee per day actually helps lower the risk of prostate, liver and breast cancer.

Revs up Your Metabolism

Trying to lose weight? Coffee can help increase your resting metabolic rate, increase energy expenditure, curb your appetite and burn more calories, plus coffee contains barely a trace amount of calories.

Gut Instinct

The polyphenols in coffee help facilitate the good bacteria in your gut.

Lower Risk of Disease

Diseases such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, diabetes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s are all reported to be reduced through coffee consumption.

Reduces Depression

Caffeine binds to receptors for neurotransmitters associated with elevating your mood.

Increases Athletic Performance

Have a cup before heading out on that run, bike ride or even your Yoga practice and your performance can be enhanced. I can attest to this personally. I used to drink 3 cups of coffee before playing racquetball in college. I really didn’t have much skill, but because I had so much “energy” I was all over the court, crushing my opponents with speed and hard hits. I was #1 out of the girls…just saying.

CONS

Headaches

Some people say they get a headache if they don’t have coffee every day. Caffeine withdrawal may indeed contribute to headaches if you overdo it. Since I only have 2-3 cups of coffee a day, this may be why I do not get a headache if I don’t have it.

Cholesterol

Particularly unfiltered coffee, may increase LDL cholesterol levels in some individuals. Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising substances known as cafestol and kahweol, but paper filters remove both from brewed coffee. If you’re watching your cholesterol levels you may consider limiting or avoiding unfiltered coffee and drink filtered versions instead.

Myths About Coffee

Coffee is a Diuretic

Scientifically speaking coffee is only a diuretic to virgin populations, meaning the first time you drink coffee, it will have diuretic effects.
Contrary to popular thought, coffee will not cause you to become dehydrated. Coffee is mostly water. Let me tell you, if you were dying of thirst as in literally had gone 72 hours without water, coffee would be a great beverage to drink! Of course water would be more satisfactory and probably the best option, but coffee could indeed save your life. As would a beer – again, mostly water!

Coffee is Bad for You
As stated above, it simply is not, especially if you can enjoy black coffee without cream or sugar. It’s kinda like a baked potato – the potato itself isn’t the problem, but maybe ease off the butter and sour cream.

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