It’s been a great day so far but I had a really bad Monday, so I thought I would write about it.
I felt down, irritable, tired. My eyelids were heavy & I could barely get out of bed in the morning.
Because I was suffering. From caffeine withdrawal.
I happened to skip my usual coffee on Friday because I had an eye issue (that is another tale…), then I had a chai latte instead of a coffee on Saturday…so I thought maybe I’ll try and go without coffee for a few more days.
Sunday (day 3) I felt okay in the morning, then sure enough in the evening I crashed. Yesterday was atrocious.
I gave in this morning and after my Tuesday spin class, I bought a coffee. And I feel alive! I feel human again! But I feel slightly weak because I couldn’t last any longer without my caffeine fix.
So now I need to know, how bad is coffee for you? Is it healthy? I love the stuff, so it has to go onto the Happy List, but these questions need answering!
First up, did you know coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after oil? That’s insane. People sure do love coffee.
Where does coffee come from?
Well, the first coffee plants came from Africa – specifically Ethiopia. It’s rumoured that a farmer noticed the strange effect it had on his goats as they became so hyperactive that they did not want to sleep at night. Word spread, and it was apparently monks who initially made it into a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept them alert for the long hours of evening prayer.
Native tribes would also grind the coffee cherries from the trees together, mixing the paste with animal fat. Rolled into little balls, the mixture was used to give warriors energy for battle (which explains why I’m feeling so great today!).
It then spread to the middle east – to Yemen and was first cultivated by Arabs from the 14th century.
Word of its remarkable energetic properties spread and travellers brought it back to Holland. And the rest is history!
What are the risks?
I actually didn’t know there were this many negative associations with coffee/caffeine consumption until I researched for this post – you may be surprised.
- A study revealed that four or more cups of coffee per day is linked to an increased risk of death. (However, watch this video from NBC medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman who says the study has major holes.)
- It is addictive and users can become dependent on it and find it difficult to quit or even cut back (ahem, case in point!). Plus it’s even difficult to even know how much caffeine is IN your coffee. This article claims that a cup of Starbucks coffee is packed with more than twice as much caffeine as a cup of McDonald’s. Wow.
- Too much caffeine/coffee can cause anxiety and panic attacks.
- It causes a spike in blood pressure.
- It can cause heartburn.
What are the benefits?
- The jury’s out on life expectancy and coffee. It’s also claimed that drinking a few coffees per day increases your life expectancy.
- Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than anything else. While fruits and vegetables also contain many antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee!
- LOVE coffee AND alcohol? Well my friend, it’s good news for you. Apparently drinking coffee is excellent for your liver, especially if you’re a big drinker!
- A recent study found that coffee before exercise INCREASES calorie burn by up to 15%! (yes you did hear that right!)
- A study completed by the National Institute of Health found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee were about 10 percent less likely to be depressed than those who had never had it.
- It may reduce your risk of stroke.
- Coffee may make you smarter! CNN reports that coffee allows your brain to work in a much more efficient and smarter way.
My mind is in a spin. Researching this post alone has made me need a cup of coffee. You can find trillions of articles and studies telling you the pros and cons, but overall I’d say it seems safe to keep drinking the stuff in moderation.
While it’s not nice to be addicted to anything, I’d pick a caffeine addiction over other things out there. If you can afford to keep paying $4 per coffee 1-5 times per day knock yourself out! Let’s face it, instant coffee doesn’t cut it.
I on the other hand, am going to try and cut back to 1 cup per day. That way hopefully I’ll reap the benefits without having a panic attack because I drank too much and can’t afford the train home. 🙂
How many cups do you drink per day? Have you abstained from caffeine? What happened?