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Can't Function Without Your Coffee Fix?

Can't Function Without Your Coffee Fix?

February 2, 2017 - By Lola Ross

Nutritionist Lola Ross runs through the good, the bad and the ugly effects of caffeine on the body.

How does coffee feature in your life? Are you a 'can’t get started without my Starbucks skinny latte’ type? A summer frappuccino sipper? An ad-hoc after dinner espresso sophisticate?

For so many of us coffee is one of the highlights of the morning (afternoon or evening!). The rich aromatic scent of an espresso, the velvety froth of a cappuccino….the thing that makes getting up super early for kids, work or both so much easier. But how is the coffee that we drink today (and that we have come to rely on so much) really affecting our health? Lets have a look at some of the not so good physiological effects that coffees has ….

Stress hormones – the very action of caffeine, the active component of coffee, is its stimulant effects on your adrenal glands triggering adrenaline which keeps us alert and normally released during emergencies where they are used up by the body e.g running away. So caffeine’s artificial stimulation of these stress hormones leave adrenaline hanging around in your body unused as you sit watching Daybreak or sit at the computer checking emails. This hormone load can lead to feelings of anxiety and moods swings as well as instigating cravings for salty and sugary foods; that can negatively impact on your weight and quality of your nutrient intake. 

Skin – coffee is a natural diuretic meaning that it promotes the loss of water through the urination. This can leave your skin dehydrated and scaly especially in the colder months when skin is prone to water loss from central heating and harsher weather. 

Weight gain – so many of us do not realise or acknowledge the amount of calories inside commercial coffee drinks bought from places such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee. With the frequent consumption of these extra sweet coffee drinks we are all having the equivalent of a desert before lunchtime! 

So what are the alternatives?

Give unnecessary calories the heave ho - don’t buy sugary syrupy laden coffee drinks like Toffee Nut Lattes, at 300+ calories a pop your are almost a quarter of your way through an average woman’s intake calorie intake. Swap for a small or regular size cappuccino instead with no added sugar.

To reduce the effects of caffeine on your body you can simply choose decaffeinated or alternate your coffees from decaf to caffeinated so you simply consume less caffeine. If you want to try to kick the caffeine habit entirely, try coffee substitutes, such as organic Barley Cup. It really is surprisingly coffee-like with the added benefits of prebiotics to support digestive health. Or, switch to herbal teas…there are so many wonderful teas out there nowadays that it is often a case of just testing out which one tickles your taste buds. 

If you drink more than one cup of coffee a day then try to reduce this by alternating them with herbal teas or water to replace lost water and increase skin hydration from the inside out. 

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