Coffee has become part of our culture, we meet up for coffee, we stand in line to get our morning fix, we even have our own coffee machines at work and at home. But, how do we know when it is time to rein in our coffee consumption and focus on nurturing our health? I have seen in the last few years that coffee has become so invasive to our culture and well being that even the clean-living people (Naturopaths included) have been drawn into the coffee haze.
Lets first start by looking at coffee itself. In the last few years I have noticed that coffee has been touted as a nutritional product high in antioxidants. I have also come across some studies into coffee consumption and the impact on health. However, a majority of the studies do suggest that only moderate amounts of coffee are beneficial for health, this article looks at identifying when your coffee consumption has moved beyond moderate into excessive or problematic for your health.
So what are some signs that you need to part ways with coffee, or at least seriously cut down your consumption?
One: Your Nervous System is Trying to Tell You Something
Most people are aware of the side effects of too much coffee, however all too often I see people ignoring the occasional jitters and palpitations of coffee overload and gradually an undercurrent of anxiety and jumpiness pervades their daily life. If you find yourself experiencing sweaty palms and nervousness while you are at work, it may be made worse by your morning coffee and time to address your coffee consumption.
Two: Your Barista Knows Everything About You
We are all creatures of habit, and it is a sometimes a shock when you realise that the fellow who makes your early morning brew knows more about you than your best friend. Perhaps it is time to address the way you use your time and who you share it with.
Three: You Can’t Stop Drinking About Coffee
Yes, you read it right! Thinking about coffee at inappropriate times can influence your productivity and work, impact your home life and affect the way that you function on a day to day basis. The surge of blood flow to the brain that you experience with coffee can become something that your body depends on and that craving for coffee may be linked to subsequent ‘lows’ that you can experience after this affect wears off.
Four: You Get a Headache When You Miss Your Morning Fix
A sure sign that your body is craving or detoxifying a substance is a headache. For many, the coffee headache doesn’t kick in until day three of withdrawal, however, for others, headaches are a sign that you body is becoming dependant on your daily coffee. You may not realise that you are a heavy coffee user until you attempt to cut down your consumption and headaches or mood changes become apparent.
Five: Your Accountant Notices Your ‘Incidental Purchases’
Adding up those incidental purchases and coffees that you ‘sneak in’ on your lunch break can add up over a whole year. Imagine all of the healthier things that you could have spent that money on – gym membership, a new kayak, an occasional massage …
Six: You NEED It To Get Through The Day
Probably the most classic sign that coffee is becoming a real problem is reliance. Feeling a desperate need to have coffee to survive the day is considered quite normal for today’s society, I often hear people suggest that they cannot perform their job or think properly until they have a coffee – you may have a mug or a fridge magnet that confirms this too.
Seven: You Get Angry at Your Naturopath For Suggesting You Give Up Coffee
In clinic I see a great deal of people who transition from “I would do anything you suggested if it would help with my health” to ” I don’t think I can give up coffee” in a matter of seconds. For many this is the turning point for realising that coffee really is a problem. If we identify a great resistance to giving up our daily coffee this helps to identify an attachment to a substance.
Although coffee is legal, readily available and socially acceptable it doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthful or nutritious. Challenging society’s expectations by breaking away from the “let’s do coffee” mould and focusing on sharing time with others without this caffeinated beverage takes strength, courage and persistence.
The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking any action based on this article. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. If you rely on any information provided in this article, you do so at your own risk.