Coffee, what’s the verdict? Is it good or bad for us?

 Coffee, what's the verdict  Is it good or bad for us

Coffee, what’s the

verdict? Is it good

or bad for us?

Nathan Batalion, Global Health Activist, Healingtalks Editor

(Healingtalks) For most of us, coffee benefits outweigh risks. Oh that heavenly aroma must be worth something, no? It gets us up and going and certainly increases mental alertness.

Coffee and stimulating the fire within

The caffeine will stimulate the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin. The same glands are referred to as the “fire chakra” in ancient Indian healing view.  It is this inner “fire” that can get our bodies  moving and the minds as well  (to actively project images outward, what is essential in all mental processes). I know from personal experience that when the adrenal gland operations collapse, the left brain (that projects conceptual and symbolic images outward) shuts down. It loses its push.The mind collapses like a muscle gone flabby.
Thus coffee makes us feel both mentally and physically stronger and alive. Isn’t that the greatest. But the question here is one of longevity. Will that feeling last or is there a burnout and letdown?

Analogy of food subjected to fire

Many indigenous, shamanistic cultures routinely boil herbs over a stone fire to intensify the herbal effects. In basic food preparation, just a little bit of heat (as in using a dehydrator up to 105-10 degrees Fahrenheit or a steamer) will intensified flavors to enliven a dish. We see this with dehydrated fruits and veggies. But the more fire we use, such as boiling a dish to death, can render it nutritionally lifeless. Fire heats us in our home but it can also burn down the same house when out of control.

The degree of inner fire

The degree of inner fire becomes relevant. If one is vibrantly healthy, a cup or two of coffee can be a wonderful get-me-going routine. It can significantly improve mental and physical performance. in emergencies, this extra boost can be life-saving. I have used a small amount of caffeine just before road races to enhance performance …but never afterwards.
So too much coffee will, for example, make our nerves shaky and start to radically reduce effective performance.  If one has an  advanced illness or health challenge, coffee in a diet can become questionable (as Dr. Dean Ornish points out in his approach to reversing cardiovascular disease).

What is inner fire?

Simple physical fire is formed by rubbing objected against each other, creating friction. Any “fighting against” or oppositional relationship is one of “not being at One.” Why is this significant? It is in a certain “larger picture” of how things really work, or what can be called a “worldview.”  The conventional worldview tells us that nature (and our nature) is supposedly made up of just matter and energy. Think of of a car made up of just metal parts and that burns energy. For a machine this is true. But what of a living organism? Our uniquely introduced worldview offers a different understanding that in the final analysis everything in our experience of life revolves around what forms “consciousness and unconsciousness in nature” – not matter and energy.  This takes a huge reorientation to understand and see. It requires an exact understanding of what consciousness is. Just a small part of this larger picture tells us that the “movement away from nature’s oneness occurs in oppositional relationships or that which forms fire. Get fired up a little and you are more alert. Get fired up a lot, and you’ve lost it, losing awareness of things around you. Imagine that consciousness is not just simple awareness but also what keeps us whole. Thus too much fire starts the nerves shaking – a sign of losing inner steadiness, connected wholeness. The oppositional consciousness of the fight/flight reaction of adrenalin just belongs to this consciousness-burning gentre. If not contained, it will, in fact, burnout our inner consciousness and life.

Pouring “water” over fire

Inner peace like that experienced when siting by a still seashore, must be returned to, to replenshed one’s calm, balanced connectedness – whether in sleep or via peaceful meditation.

A forever split verdict

With compromised individuals, this does not as easily occur so coffee should then be avoided. With others,  coffee enhances life. A slew of research studies support both sides of this coin. In addition, the very fact that a person tolerates coffee can mean that they are healthier, so that relatively positive results are intrinsically eschewed. Thus if coffee drinkers have a lower risk of stroke is it because of the coffee drinking or their healthier state to being with, and to thus tolerate coffee?
Thus each person has to judge and make a verdict for themselves, as is common with other food sensitivities.If you break out with a rash eating peanuts and your bother or sister doesn’t, you just can’t eat the same. With serious chronic ills and advanced age, however, the borders shift and it becomes increasingly advisable not  to drink coffee or a least for it to be moderated. Still and even there, the borders are no hard. As a result, our verdict has and will forever remain split.

Coffee’s pros

  • 1. Antioxidants. Coffee is rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging.
  • 2. Parkinson’s disease. Regular coffee drinking can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies [1],[2] have demonstrated that people who drink coffee are less likely to have Parkinson’s disease. But once you have the disease, again, its dietary use is questionable.
  • 3. Diabetes. Coffee drinking has a potential to protect one against developing type 2 diabetes. A prospective study[3] as part of the US Nurses Health Study found that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  • 4. Liver cirrhosis. Coffee drinking may protect against liver cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
  • 5. Gallstones. Coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation in both men and women [4]
  • 6. Kidney stones. Coffee consumption lowers the risk of kidney stones formation. Coffee increases the urine volume, preventing crystallization of calcium oxalates.
  • 7. Alzheimer’s disease. Regular coffee drinking may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Recent study [5] in mice showed that caffeine equivalent to 5 cups of coffee per day reduced the build up of destructive plaques in the brain.
  • 8. Asthma. Caffeine in coffee is related to theophylline, an old asthma medication. Caffeine can open airways and improve asthma symptoms.
  • 9. Stroke – Recent studies show a correlation between coffee drinking and a lower risk of stoke.
  • 10. Cancer – Certain forms of cancer risk, especially colon and pancreatic, are correlated to coffee intake.

More on coffee’s cons

  • 1. Heart disease. Diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies [6] have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Also, coffee consumption is associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
  • 2. Cholesterol. Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels [7]. Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising compounds cafestol and kahweol.
  • 3. Blood vessels. Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function.
  • 4. Heart rhythm disturbances. Coffee can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias).
  • 5. Blood pressure. Although coffee drinking is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure [8] and people prone to hypertension may be more susceptible. Recent Italian study found coffee drinking increases the risk of sustained hypertension for people with already elevated blood pressure.
  • 6. Osteoporosis. Coffee intake may cause extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake [9].
  • 7. Heartburn. A cup of coffee can trigger  heartburn.
  • 8. Sleep. High amounts of caffeine taken before going to sleep can cause difficulty falling asleep, tendency to be awakened more readily by sudden noises, and a decreased quality of sleep. However, some people can drink coffee and fall right asleep.
  • 9. Dehydration. The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion.
  • 10. Dependence. Caffeine is a mild central nervous system stimulant, and produces dependence. Caffeine withdrawal is thus a real syndrome and you may get days of headache and irritability if you choose to quit. However, it is relatively easy to break this habit.

Video

Resources

What’s in a cup of coffee – Healingtalks

Coffee pros and cons

Is coffee good or bad for men’s health

Is coffee bad for you?

References

1. Saaksjarvi K, Knekt P, Rissanen H, Laaksonen MA, Reunanen A, Mannisto S. Prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease. PubMed

2. Hu G, Bidel S, Jousilahti P, Antikainen R, Tuomilehto J. Coffee and tea consumption and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. PubMed

3. van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study in younger and middle-aged U.S. women. Diabetes Care. PubMed

4. Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL. Coffee intake is associated with lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women. Gastroenterology. PubMed

5. Arendash GW, Schleif W, Rezai-Zadeh K, Jackson EK, Zacharia LC, Cracchiolo JR, Shippy D, Tan J. Caffeine protects Alzheimer’s mice against cognitive impairment and reduces brain beta-amyloid production. Neuroscience. PubMed

6. Urgert R, Essed N, van der Weg G, Kosmeijer-Schuil TG, Katan MB. Separate effects of the coffee diterpenes cafestol and kahweol on serum lipids and liver aminotransferases. PubMed

7. Urgert R, Weusten-van der Wouw MP, Hovenier R, Lund-Larsen PG, Katan MB. Chronic consumers of boiled coffee have elevated serum levels of lipoprotein(a). PubMed

8. Winkelmayer WC, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Curhan GC. Habitual caffeine intake and the risk of hypertension in women. PubMed

9. Hallstrom H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaelsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women.

Keywords

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