Our dear friends, we want to talk about coffee and in this little article try to concisely cover the most essential information about the harms and benefits of this controversial beverage.
Generally, when people try coffee for the first time, it does not taste pleasant due to its bitter and astringent taste and strong flavor. Things change over time, and what we did not like yesterday may today become normal and widely accepted, traditional so to say. So, after a few tries people begin to like coffee especially when it is dressed up with sugar and milk, especially if it is socially encouraged. Majority of the people drink coffee for its “energy boosting” effect that is unfortunately invariably followed by a crash.
We know that in order to get flavor from the coffee bean it needs to get roasted. What we may not know is that roasting the coffee bean is not a harmless process and is fraught with the production of a very dangerous substance called acrylamide (along with others) – a powerful carcinogenic and mutagenic chemical compound that causes damage and mutations in the DNA. The roasted coffee beans by far have the highest acrylamide content than any other thermally processed foods.
A cup of coffee in the morning on an empty stomach leads to an overproduction of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is normally needed for denser and heavier foods, specifically for proteins. If the overstimulated production of hydrochloric acid on a daily basis continues it gradually degrades the function of the stomach. This leads to poor breakdown of food into nutrients, reduced nutrient absorption and consequently results in nutrient deficiency. Regular consumption of coffee aids in formation of toxins and overall has a detrimental effect on digestive health.
As a result, poorly digested food cannot give rise to healthy tissue. Complex high-molecular proteins especially of animal origin and some plant sources would not break down to basic components – amino acids, and would start moving into the next part of the digestive tract – small intestine. Here they may remain resistant even to the liver and pancreas enzymes, and manage to sneak into the bloodstream where they cause the antigen-antibody reaction which in its essence is an immunogenic process that lies at the base of virtually any disease.
What is an antigen? We are dealing with a substance that is toxic, poisonous and deteriorating. It takes different forms and qualities, capable of penetrating deeply into the internal organs and building up in the spaces between the cells of tissues. Overloaded elimination channels (digestive tract, kidney tract, lymphatic system, respiratory system, skin) are not capable of providing complete waste elimination. Poisons build up, causing poor cellular function, creating a favorable environment for bacterial and fungal growth and formation of benign and malignant tumors.
Coffee is a very acidifying agent, yet most of our bodily fluids are alkaline except in the stomach. High acidity of the stomach serves as a barrier for pathogens. Also, coffee contains other components (tannins) that are destructive to the lining of the stomach and small intestine. When deterioration happens, the barrier is destroyed and susceptibility to infections and allergens increases. The high acidity of coffee washes and wastes away essential alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium and even zinc. This happens in an attempt of the body to counterpart the drop of PH levels caused by coffee.
How does it happen? The body uses the alkalizing effect of essential minerals, many of which come from the inner reserves of the body (muscles, bones, liver). Coffee loosens the pyloric valve between the stomach and the esophagus allowing for the acid to rise. The modern-day human being suffers greatly from unnatural foods as it is, but adding coffee to it speeds up the process many times over. And here is also why.
Let’s talk about energy that coffee seems to provide and how it does it. Coffee with its components stimulate the production of three hormones – adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, which also are the three major stress hormones that are produced in stressful situations. Overproduction of these three hormones leads to emotional aggression, irritability, anxiety, depression, feeling of doom, and an overall nervous depletion. In a stressful situation these emotions help mobilize in order to save life, but such continuous “trainings” wear out the compensatory mechanisms, body endurance and energy reserves, causing faster aging, and predisposing the body and the mind to different health conditions, including but not limited to various nervous system disorders.
A crush of energy happens after the effects of these three hormones as a result of this depletion. Rest is a balancing mechanism, the ultimate rejuvenator that can restore energy. But if the stimulation continues the development of health conditions may occur fairly quickly.
There is of course a positive side to coffee when the benefit of raw coffee beans can be valuable only in specific cases for therapeutic purposes, for example to stimulate elimination in extreme stagnation and sluggishness conditions.
While growing, the coffee bean accumulates two main alkaloids: caffeine stored in the outer coat of the coffee bean, and theobromine stored inside the coffee bean. People who grind whole coffee beans get both alkaloids in their coffee, but those who use instant coffee are missing caffeine, because it gets removed and is usually used for other purposes, for example, in the pharmaceutical industry. What is left is the inner part of the bean, which only contains theobromine. This is the difference between the whole bean coffee and processed, commercial coffee. Some brands of commercial coffee though would still contain caffeine but in small amounts.
Let’s now explore the effects of the caffeine and theobromine on a human body.
Caffeine constricts the lumen of all blood vessels in the body except the kidneys. As a result, blood pressure rises, but in the kidneys the blood vessels dilate stimulating the kidneys to filter blood at a quicker rate. Caffeine acts like a diuretic producing a larger amount of urine quickly, that is light in color, which indicates a high amount of water in it. That means that the kidneys are working hard with a small effect; such overuse of kidneys leads to deterioration and loss of their function. This is the first phase of the effect of coffee.
The second one is the theobromine phase, the coffee’s other alkaloid that acts opposite to caffeine. When we talk about coffee generally, we refer to the effect of caffeine, however we diminish or skip theobromine altogether, the effect of which is not less critical to the human’s body. Theobromine relaxes and dilates the blood vessels in the body, the blood vessels in the kidneys however constrict, creating tension in the kidneys and a pulling sensation in the lower back. This type of “training” can cause damage in the long run. The theobromine effect explains why people with high blood pressure who use instant coffee would not have blood pressure elevation, unlike with the whole bean coffee that could be life-threatening for such individuals. After thirty minutes to several hours of an “energy rush” which is actually just a jolt of stimulation to all systems of the body, there comes theobromine-induced lethargy, sluggishness, loss of concentration. And so, several cups of coffee may be required regularly throughout the day and every day to keep up with the busy life. Statistics show, for example, that most of truck accidents happen thirty-forty minutes into their trip conditioned by this coffee crash effect. When the desired effect needs to be sustained in this way, gradually the habitual dependency grows into a destructive addiction.
There are many great coffee alternatives available now such as chicory root, capomo (maya nut), dandelion, roasted barley and others. These coffee substitutes, among many of their health benefits, resemble the taste of coffee and can help you transition away from it. More and more people nowadays switch to herbal tea, water and natural juices for hydration and a boost of energy.
(Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels)