I can absolutely understand why you could be confused about coffee and whether it is good for you or not. Almost weekly I see new articles looking into the health benefits or problems associated with coffee consumption.
As with most foods, adverse effects coffee consumption can have on your body is more to do with the amount you consume and how you consume it than any problems with the coffee itself.
From a Chinese medicine point of view, coffee can be good for the Liver in moderate amounts. The Liver loves bitter flavours so the bitterness in coffee can be tonifying for the Liver. Coffee can help the body detox from a diet that is reach and heavy and can assist in purging the bowels. However, too much coffee can heat the Liver and Stomach, drying up body fluids and draining the Kidneys of energy. This can result in dry mouth, coughing, tiredness, stomach ulcers, insomnia, hormone imbalance, constant headaches, digestive upset and emotional irritability. If you suffer from these symptoms already, reducing coffee may help.
Coffee is also a diuretic so you need to replace the water you lose with your morning cup of coffee. For every cup, you need to drink 2 cups of water to replace it (this is on top of your normal water consumption).
From a fertility and women’s health aspect, coffee increases cortisol and cortisol (the stress hormone) reduces progesterone in the body. So if you are trying to fall pregnant and have low progesterone levels, you should look at reducing coffee intake. Caffeine can also lower your iron absorption so try to avoid having a cup of coffee while eating red meat or iron supplementation especially if you already have low iron.
So my suggestions for healthy coffee consumption are these:
- Have something in your stomach first, including water, try not to have coffee the first thing to hit your stomach for the day
- Have it black or with a small amount of full cream milk, all other milk substitutes have too much sugar and nasty additives
- Have no more than one per day
- Avoid coffee after 12pm
- Drink plenty of water all day
And lastly…enjoy it! However you drink it, enjoy it. If you don’t, don’t drink it, have a cup of herbal tea instead.