For The Love Of Coffee…

coffee pressCaffeine — it’s the world’s most popular drug. People drink it with alcohol to ramp up the effect. They drink it after alcohol to sober up. They take it to get rid of headaches, cure cancer, and prevent Parkinson’s. Then again, most are looking to put warning labels on any product that contains added caffeine. So what gives — is caffeine saint or sinner, miracle drug or a self induced nightmare?

The devil, as usual when it comes to natural substances, lies in the details. And that’s what we’re going to explore in this article, the truth behind caffeine.

As Previously stated, Caffeine is the #1 used (or abused) DRUG in the world and is part of everyone’s daily life-style. It has gone unnoticed as a potentially harmful substance to most people’s health – especially if you’re over the age of 35 and you’re worried about heart disease, joint pain, anxiety, depression, and/or diabetes. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It’s consumed by up to 90% of people in the world in one form or another, but mostly in beverages. It is a naturally occurring substance found in plants like cocoa beans, tea leaves, and kola nuts.

Daily usage, let alone multiple cups, as well as higher dosed caffeinated products such as Espresso’s, Energy Drinks, and Weight Loss + Energy pills – have NUMEROUS long-term negative effects because of caffeine build up.

Below are the Top 10 Caffeine Related Problems. Please read them carefully and see what improvements you could make in your own lifestyle & future health picture.

  1. Cardiovascular Problems(heart disease, strokes and blood pressure) Caffeine increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and can contribute to the development of heart disease. This means an increase chance of heart attacks and strokes. Both decaf and regular coffee increase your cholesterol and homocysteine, the biochemical indicators that is linked to increased risk for heart attacks. Caffeine is also linked to coronary vasospasms, the cause for 20% of all fatal heart attacks, which kill otherwise perfectly healthy people.
  2. Stress(physical, emotional and a rise in stress hormones such as cortisol) Caffeine stimulates and increases the excretion of stress hormones, such as Cortisol and other negative adrenal hormones. This produces increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion, insomnia, and decreased immune function (leading to sickness). Increased levels of stress from caffeine can keep you from being able to make healthy responses to the normal daily stress everyone is subjected to in their lives. Hence, you’re NOT able to deal with stress as well.
  3. Emotional Disturbances(anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability) Anxiety and irritability are primary mood disturbances associated with caffeine consumption, but equally important is depression and attention disorders. Depression may occur as part of the let down (withdrawals) after the stimulant effects of caffeine wears off. This tends to happen through out the day due to caffeine’s short half life. Hence, why you drink multiple cups of coffee or caffeinated beverages through out the day. Your body “needs” the caffeine boost in order to survive and feel “normal”. Additionally, the depression may also appear during the recovery period after quitting caffeine while the brain’s chemistry is readjusted (this usually takes 3-10 days before your body “normalizes” and feels “human” again). Caffeine, rather than increasing mental activity actually decreases blood flow to the brain by as much as 30% and negatively effects memory and mental performance. Just like any drug, caffeine has negative withdrawals when you attempt to get off or even reduce your consumption. The above mentioned emotional disturbances, coupled with physical weakness and fatigue – adding to it horrible headaches – is one reason many people never stay off caffeine. It’s just too difficult to quit and because it’s readily available and acceptable for daily use, no one tries to quit.
  4. Blood Sugar & Insulin Problems(hypoglycemia, high insulin, etc.) Diabetics and people who tend to have low-blood sugar (hypoglycemia) should avoid caffeine because it stimulates a temporary surge in blood sugar, which is then followed by an overproduction of insulin that causes a blood sugar crash within hours. This low blood sugar makes you feel tired, fatigued and crave carbohydrates and sugary type of foods. If you’re trying to loose weight, this rollercoaster will actually cause weight gain, since insulin’s message to the body is to store excess sugar and food as body fat (around the legs, stomach, etc.). The other problem is if you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic and/or have a family history of it – caffeine makes things MUCH worse and you have to adjust your medication accordingly – on a day to day basis due to all the fluctuations and “rollercoaster” problems with your blood sugar because of the caffeine. Additionally, almost all caffeinated beverages contain calories and sugars – this again adds to the problem and makes many people gain fat (yes, even diet “no calorie” sodas have this effect!)
  5. Gastrointestinal Problems(stomach, heart burn, acid reflux, indigestion) Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid leading to an increased risk for ulcers. Granted, it’s mild, goes unnoticed and people simply get use to this “mild discomfort” over the years and think it’s normal. Coffee, including decaf, reduces the pressure on the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, so that the highly acidic contents of the stomach pass up to the esophagus leading to heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. With America’s high consumption of coffee, its no wonder the best selling over-the-counter drugs are the so-called antacids.
  6. Nutritional Deficiencies(vitamins, minerals, etc.) Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals, all essential elements necessary for good health – especially your bones. This is one major reason for people having osteoporosis, joint problems and getting shorter as we age – less calcium absorption!
  7. Male Health Problems(urinary, prostate, BPH) Even though caffeine acts as a diuretic, it causes problems and prostate growth (PBH). Hence, if you are getting up to pee a few times a night, cutting out the caffeine will definitely help your prostate and you’ll sleep better too!
  8. Female Problems(PMS, cysts, osteoporosis, etc.) Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight infants, and menopausal problems such as hot flashes are all exacerbated by caffeine consumption. Women on birth control pills are particularly at risk because they have a decreased ability to detoxify caffeine. Additionally, caffeine has been shown to cause cysts in breast tissue. As discussed in #6 above, caffeine prevents the absorption of certain nutrients – two main ones being calcium and magnesium. BOTH of these minerals are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, while preventing osteoporosis (especially in women and more so if you’re post menopausal).
  9. Adrenal Exhaustion(fatigue, muscle weakness, sleepy) Caffeine consumption leads to eventual adrenal exhaustion, which can leave you vulnerable to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation, autoimmunity, colds and flues, and fatigue. Basically, your adrenal glands help create “adrenal”, in addition to a numerous other very important anti-aging hormones. When we are under stress (physical and/or emotional), our adrenal glands work over time to help us cope with life’s stresses. But, when you are using caffeine, your adrenal glands are already depleted. In fact, caffeine has REPLACED some of the adrenal’s functions. Similar to a car running on an empty gas tank. Hence, because of this adrenal exhaustion due to caffeine – your body is in a “weak” state and any additional pressures and stresses affect you much quicker. Irritability, muscle fatigue, anger, fat again are all related to adrenal exhaustion and the caffeine is making it worse!
  10. Accelerated Aging(dehydration, skin elasticity, wrinkles, loss of hormones) Many people over the age of 35 and definitely in their 40’s, find that they can no longer tolerate the same level of caffeine consumption, as they could in their twenties and early thirties. The production of DHEA, melatonin, and other hormones start to decline and caffeine accelerates that downhill drop & makes you age faster. As discussed earlier, caffeine is also a diuretic. It dehydrates the body of water and contributes to the aging of the skin and kidneys. It has been shown to inhibit DNA repair and slow the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins. The kidneys and liver are very important organs needed for your longevity, detoxification, regeneration of cells, creation of hormones, metabolism of foods and nutrients and so many other vital duties.

Well, there you have it – 10 important reasons to AVOID caffeine and caffeinated products, pills and beverages. Yes, ONCE in a while, a small cup of organic coffee or tea is fine. But daily use, let alone multiple times a day is NOT good for your physical or emotional health – especially longterm usage.
If you tend to “abuse” caffeine and are a bit addicted (hence, daily usage, multiple times), my suggestion is to slowly reduce your dependency. For example, if you are having 4 cups of coffee daily, slowly lower it by HALF a cup each week until you are completely off.

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