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At this point, I believe coffee has become the drink of the Gods in America. Many of us may as well have an IV flowing with the dark goodness right into our veins! We all want more energy and vitality; however caffeine greatly inhibits our ability to do so. Here’s why.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas, etc. It causes the release of adrenaline into our bodies, thus increasing our level of stress. Caffeine addicts wear out the stress hormones, our adrenals. Let’s take a moment now to discuss our adrenal hormones, what they do and why they’re important. The adrenal glands are two tiny glands, no bigger than a grape. They sit on top of the kidneys, are responsible for your energy levels, your endurance and your vitality. You cannot live without your adrenal hormones and how well you live depends a great deal on how well your adrenal glands function.
Living in these days of uncertainty and overwhelm causes much stress, which is not easy on the adrenal glands. Our adrenals were wonderfully designed to assist us in time of need. Think back to caveman days. Adrenaline was released to help us out run a tiger or bear that may have been chasing us. This system was not meant to be used often (uh, let’s hope we’re not being chased by lions and tigers on a regular basis, right?!?), but in today’s stressful world, we have a constant release of these stress hormones in many everyday situations, such as traffic, job stress or family life.
These stress hormones interfere with metabolism. In the long run caffeine will cause weight gain, especially when combined with poor diet (when our stress hormones are taxed, we tend to crave junkier foods) which in turn, typically leads to more stress and less energy. When taken in moderation, caffeine may increase your alertness, increased activity in the muscles, nervous system and heart. Consuming too much caffeine has the same effect on the body as long-term stress. It is now suggested that there is a link between caffeine intake and high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
We also know caffeine can thin the lining of the gut, lowering energy by robbing the body of vitamins and minerals and lowering immunity. This is because when the small intestinal wall is compromised, it can’t do its job, which is absorbing vitamins and minerals from our food. Additionally, food particles and other wastes can escape a damaged lining and make us sick. It is important we take a moment and note that depending on the source, 60-90% of our immune system is located in our gut or small intestine. We don’t often think of the importance of our gut, unless it’s dinner time, but we must take tip-top care of our gut, if we want to be our most energetic and vital self.
All this said, we really know the negative outcomes of caffeine far outweigh the positive and we must be very careful with regard to what it does to our small intestines, adrenal hormones, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Be careful in reducing the coffee or caffeine consumption. Cutting it off abruptly can result in you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Reduce the consumption slowly over a period of time. Maybe drink one less cup of coffee or tea each day to start and then mix caffeinated and decaffeinated until you are caffeine free. I recommend yerba mate or green tea and no more than 2 tea bags a day. If you must drink coffee, switch to Teeccino, a delicious herbal coffee.
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.