HEALTH & BALANCE

Helping you live a healthy happy life

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO COFFEE

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black coffeeCoffee has a long history of being linked to many health issues, such as heart disease and cancer. At the same time, there are many studies, showing its benefits for brain health, antioxidant protection and improved performance. Where is this contradictory thinking coming from then? It comes from the fact that many studies didn’t consider that high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and lack of exercise, tended to be more widespread among coffee drinkers. These factors are more dangerous to our health than a small cup of coffee. However, coffee consumption still needs to be in moderation. As with all healthy foods, eating too much of any good ones can still do you harm, especially if you consume it at the wrong time. In this post, I will summarise the scientific dangers of high coffee consumption and offer you my favourite tasty alternatives.

Coffee contains cafestol which is considered a potent stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels. Cafestol is found in the oily part of coffee, and when coffee is brewed with a paper filter, the cafestol gets left behind in the filter. Other methods of preparation, such as the boiled coffee, French press coffee, or Turkish coffee, are much higher in cafestol. Therefore, people with high cholesterol levels or who would like to avoid this substance, should choose paper filtered coffee or instant coffee, since they have lower levels of cafestol. Espresso is usually in the middle.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health also concluded that if you’re drinking so much coffee that you experience sleeping problems, or feel stressed and anxious, then you should reduce your consumption. Keep in mind that in most studies, a “cup” of coffee has 100 mg of caffeine, not 330 mg which you would get from a grande Starbucks coffee. Another study also found that drinking two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation which slows the metabolism of caffeine in the body. Thus since we are all biologically different, some of us maybe too sensitive to caffeine which in turn will cause digestion problems and stomach pain.coffee beansWhat about the effects of coffee on food absorption rates? Here is what science says and what I personally support. When it comes to digestion, caffeine is believed to speed up gastric emptying which occurs when the undigested contents of your stomach move too rapidly into the small bowel. This means that the food would not be digested properly and when entering the small intestines, the vital nutrients would not be absorbed. Thus it’s best to drink coffee, an hour prior or after your meal – give your stomach enough time to digest the food.

And finally, as much as we like the rush of energy after the golden cup, this may be harmful in the long-run. Caffeine stimulates our adrenal system which controls stress levels and anxiety. If we overstimulate this system, then our stress levels will increase which in turn will reduce the benefits of exercise and fitness, leading to weight gain and performance deterioration.

In conclusion to get a healthy balance, I believe it’s best to often Have a Coffee Break and Try other Alternatives.

1. Cocoa Powdercacao powder

According to a study at Cornell University, cocoa powder has twice as more antioxidants than red wine, and three times more than green tea, especially when it’s hot as this is when the antioxidant are released.  A cup of hot cocoa is also rich in flavonoids which improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and improve heart health. The American Association for the Advancement of Science also recommends it for brain health as the flavonoids increase the blood and oxygen to the brain, helping us concentrate better. Cocoa is also a prebiotic and can increase the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, making it great for gut health. Bear in mind though that you should only buy 100% cocoa powder where no sugar is added.

2. Barley DrinkHEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO COFFEE

Barley is a cereal plant which can be roasted and made into a drink. It is rich in fiber and phosphorous that is required for cell production and repair. It contains copper which is necessary for the metabolism of vitamin C, detoxification and joint health. Barley gives you a good blend of B vitamins to ensure brain health and high energy levels. I love this one which is a blend of malted barley, roasted figs, rye and chicory.

3. Dandelion Coffee healthy coffee

Made from roasting dandelion’s root, this type of coffee is believed to promote digestion and reduce stomach pain through its gentle laxative effect. It is a great detox alternative which also contains vital nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, zinc, potassium and iron.

Give them a go for a Healthy Variety in your Diet. And if you still want to enjoy a cup of coffee, it is okay too but bee smart about it – have organic filtered coffee, preferably 40 minutes after a meal or if between meals add 1 tsp organic coconut oil or ghee. People with sensitive stomach or IBS, pleased do your best to avoid it.

With health & balance,

Maya xxx

 

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