While we don't drink coffee on the 21-Day Clean Program because it can have negative effects on a body attempting detox, but we realize many people drink coffee occasionally or daily. Maybe you've noticed that it can be hard to have the "right amount." Too much, and you might end up full of the java jitters with heart palpitations, energy crashes, and some irritability. There are ways to mitigate potential negative effects of coffee, to make that morning habit just a little bit healthier.
5 HEALTHY COFFEE ADD-INS
Let's start with some healthy add-ins:
Cinnamon - A favorite spice and medicinal herb, cinnamon is a well-researched blood-sugar balancer. Often times imbalances in blood sugar and the regulating hormone insulin can create energy dips, cravings, and irritability that might make you reach for a cuppa Joe to have that instant feel-good sensation. You can sprinkle it on top of your coffee, and for even more medicinal value, steep it with the coffee grounds.
Collagen - Collagen, a substance naturally occurring in our bodies and the bodies of animals, is helpful for gut, skin, hair, nail and joint health, to name a few. In the last few years, collagen powders have been put on the market, and there’s kind of a craze going on. It provides easily digestible protein and has no flavor or texture. It dissolves completely in pretty much anything you put it in - including coffee.
Grass-Fed Butter - Butter in coffee? Oh, yes. Grass-fed butter is a nutritional powerhouse (you could also use ghee instead). It contains a great ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, helpful in keeping cholesterol, weight, and inflammation in check. Grass-fed butter in coffee is also a great brain booster (especially along with coconut oil, see below). Coffee already gives a buzz, and adding butter provides a fat called butyrate, which is helpful in preventing neurodegenerative diseases,
Coconut Oil - Another healthy fat-based coffee add-in, coconut oil is amazing. Coconut oil provides different types of fats than butter, so when they’re put together in coffee, there’s a really nice base going on. Coconut oil is a known metabolism-booster, probably because it supports healthy blood sugar levels and thyroid function. Coconut oil is also anti-microbial, great for improving the immune system and preventing overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and pathogens like parasites and candida/yeast.
Cacao - Chocolate and coffee together is heavenly, and definitely a favorite combo of many. Cacao is the raw form of cocoa or chocolate. It’s got way more benefits than the regular stuff, so it might be a good idea to get your hands on some to keep in the pantry. Cacao has been shown to reduce the release of stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine from the adrenal glands.
Inflammation is at the root of hormonal imbalance and often other signs of ill health as well. Cacao is very high in flavonoids, antioxidant compounds which could reduce inflammation, even more than green tea or red wine! Lastly, cacao is high in minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron - all important for helping us feel more calm and alert.
WHAT'S THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO DRINK COFFEE
When should we drink coffee? Isn’t it best to drink it first thing in the morning for that energy boost and so it doesn’t keep us up at night?
Not so much, according to Dr. Steven Miller, a neuroscience Ph.D. student. According to his research, cortisol is highest first thing in the morning, so having a cup of coffee first thing will only increase that already high cortisol (bad news) and won’t help those in between times when cortisol natural declines through the day. He suggests between 9:30 and 11:30AM as being the best for coffee, but at least to wait one hour after waking before having coffee to drink.
3 WAYS TO STOP COFFEE FROM INTERFERING WITH YOUR HEALTH
Add Fats - Fats in coffee (and any food context) helps to slow the release of insulin and sugar in the blood. Balanced blood sugar = optimal health, in many cases. These fats will help prevent that energy crash a little while after drinking coffee because fats are the most sustainable energy source we can consume.
No Sugar/Sweeteners - Pretty obvious, but not so easy to do. Adding sugar and sweeteners is something that creeps up on us. Sugar and artificial sweeteners alike have been linked to many diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and diabetes. We suggest taking it slow. Reduce by a little each day or so until you can enjoy coffee without sweetener. Also, we suggest a healthy swap for any of these sweeteners will have you feeling better in no time.
Use Herbal Coffee Alternatives - Coffee, even with all the best add-ins and swaps, isn’t always the best for your health. For women specifically, it takes us a lot longer to metabolize caffeine than men (and alcohol too), meaning there’s longer for the caffeine to do some damage in the body.
The cortisol and insulin surge that comes with coffee drinking is bad news as well. In fact, it disrupts your circadian rhythm (aka sleep-wake cycle) for an entire 24 hours! This means more stress on your adrenal glands, and overall hormonal health in both men and women. Over time this can create sleep issues - not being able to fall asleep, waking a lot in the night, and waking feeling really unrested.
Lastly, coffee depletes the body of important nutrients, such as magnesium and B vitamins. We highly recommend checking out herbal coffee alternatives, there’s many available in health food stores.
Written by Robyn Srigley
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