In principle, I don't have a problem with coffee, after all, if you've watched LIVE TO 100 you would have noticed how most centenarians drink coffee daily. So, what's up with that? If coffee is supposedly bad for us, then why is it that people living in the Blue Zones can consume it daily and live such long, healthy lives? One word. Lifestyle. When coffee is consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle, it can be quite beneficial. Trouble is, here in the western world, we aren't really living healthy lifestyles, are we? There are many issues that we face that the people in the Blue Zones simply do not. Let's explore those factors. Are you too acidic? Coffee is an acidic compound, and I bet we can all agree with that. It measures between 4.5 and 5 on the pH scale, and anything under 7 is acidic. One could argue that citrus fruits are acidic also, however they are actually alkaline-generating once they've been digested and absorbed, whereas coffee is not. Yes, it's true that we do need a balance of acidic and alkaline foods in order to maintain a good pH level but the trouble is, most of us are already too acidic! Most people aren't drinking enough water, most people don't have great diets and unfortunately most people drink way too much coffee (and not the good coffee offered in Sardinia, we're getting those awful aluminium pods prepared with tap water, sugar and milk). See the problem here? This is the first point in difference between us and the famous centenarians. ☕Dehydration Most people are so dehydrated and unfortunately coffee has a dehydrating effect on our body. It's not an issue if we're drinking enough water, but are we? For every 1 cup of coffee we need to drink 2 cups of water to combat the dehydrating effects of this 1 cup of coffee. I bet the Okinawans drink lots of water. ☕Drinking coffee first thing on an empty stomach Many people get up the morning and the first thing they put in their body is coffee. For the love of God, do you wanna drink a little water first? First thing in the morning your body is desperate to dump all those toxins that have been collected throughout the night. It needs water to do that. You are most acidic first thing in morning until you get that first wee out. By drinking coffee first up, you're putting acid on top of acid. ☕High stress levels Coffee is a stimulant. It activates our brain and our adrenal glands. Trouble is, in a perfect world (like the one within the Blue Zones) the stimulation is welcomed. It helps get them up and going with a nice boost of cortisol. Trouble is, most of us already have high levels of cortisol, we haven't slept well and chances are we're already in fight/flight mode because of our stress levels, so the caffeine just keeps us there and adds to our stressed state. Is it all bad? No, it's actually not. A recent Harvard study found that "...about 2–5 cups a day is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. It’s even possible that people who drink coffee can reduce their risk of early death". I'm certain they are not talking about Nescafe with 2 sugars and milk here. Obviously there are many factors at play, and there isn't a study on the planet that can prove to me that coffee is good for everyone, not even the biodynamic varieties. We're all so different, and we all respond differently to stimulants like coffee. Coffee itself, when cultivated correctly and ethically and prepared correctly, isn't bad for you, but if you don't live a life of balance in the same way these centenarians do, then is it really as good for you as the Harvard study suggests or is it just adding to your body's existing burden? The problem with coffee as I see it, is we consume it for all the wrong reasons. Some people simply cannot function without their morning coffee. They need it to get going. They rely on it so heavily that when it's not there it messes with their mood and energy levels and causes headaches if they skip it. A lot of people also rely on that first coffee to have a bowel movement, and that presents a whole different problem, which I may expand on further at a different time. We have an unhealthy relationship with coffee. Period. We live such fast paced lives, we're constantly on the go, so coffee fuels that chaos. There is no chaos in the Blue Zones. So, the verdict: If you don't rely on your coffee to get through your day, and you don't consume it first thing, and you are hydrated and managing stress well, and you're consuming good quality organic coffee, and it brings you some joy, then keep drinking it! If, on the other hand, you know deep down that coffee has a hold on you, maybe it's time to wean yourself off it and onto something a little more healthy? Here are some options:
I hope you've enjoyed this read.