Although I’m at the risk of repeating myself, it’s really important!
Here’s the thing: Coffee is great. I personally love coffee and I guess everybody that brews his own coffee, drinks it on a regular basis and maybe reads a little bit about it loves it as well.
It has many positive effects, although some of them might also be overstated. For example the antioxidant content. It is said that coffee is one thing in our diet that has the highest antioxidant content. That’s true if you are eating a standard American diet (SAD), as there aren’t any antioxidant sources in there.
If you are eating (green) vegetables and other “superfoods” on a regular basis, you don’t need the coffee for the antioxidants. Just to clear that up. I read that in Superimmunity by Joel Fuhrmann M.D.
Nevertheless, coffee is great, but here’s another thing you should watch out for: caffeine. Caffeine is a legal stimulant. Probably the most used stimulant worldwide and you can get addicted to it.
Knowledge base: Caffeine is a (legal) drug that stimulates the nervous system. It has different effects on different people, but mostly it makes them alert. Our main source of caffeine is coffee. Other beverages containing caffeine include tea (black & green) and soft- or energy drinks that are enhanced with caffeine, i.e. Coke or Red Bull.
The chance of you getting addicted to caffeine in the coffee is quite high if you drink it only a daily basis without stopping. Over time, you may increase the amount of coffee because you can’t get the same stimulating effects from your cup of coffee. Instead, you need two.
As a consequence, you’ll need more and more coffee for the same amount of mental alertness.
In order to minimize the addictive qualities of coffee, switch it with tea sometimes or take a break altogether. I personally don’t have a fixed schedule on that, but from time to time, maybe every two months I have a period where I don’t drink any coffee at all.
(I recently re-discovered “hot chocolate” made with 100% cacao, so no sugar!)
You can do this a couple of days, or a couple of weeks. If you like the taste of the coffee, you can try decaf which is working fine for most people.
Switching your coffee with tea, not only increases the variety of things you consume, but you might also enjoy the additional health benefits of tea, i.e. if you choose green tea. (Green tea also has caffeine, but much less than coffee does).
Some of the health benefits of green tea include:
- it’s also a great source of antioxidants, the most powerful is probably Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG).
- besides caffeine, it contains other compounds, i.e. L-theanine, which can improve your mental abilities when consumed on a regular basis.
- It increases fat burning
- Green tea can protect you from Alzheimer’s
- It kills bacteria and improves dental health.
- It can lower your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Drinking green tea is a great habit to develop although it might take some time of getting used to it. If you love coffee, go ahead and drink it, but maybe try to go a week without coffee, to avoid the caffeine addiction.
Steps to take:
- Pay attention to your coffee consumption. Have you caught yourself 3 instead of 2 cups of coffee lately?
- In case, your coffee consumption has increased and is still within “normal amounts”, try to go without coffee for a few days.
- In case, your coffee consumption is very high (more than 5-6 cups daily), try to cut down and replace it with green, black or herbal tea for some time.