By Personal Trainer and Nutrition Expert, Katie Brighton-Jones.
So January has been the month of abstinence and detoxing, in an attempt to rectify our Christmas and new year over indulgences. Many of us have stopped eating goodies and replacing them will all things fresh and green, stopped drinking alcohol and coffee, dragged our sorry selves out in the miserable weather to exercise away those excess pounds. And these efforts are rewarded – soon we start to feel a little more like our old selves as we head into February and soon the Spring!
Detoxing – however good it makes you feel – I do ask that you maybe reconsider your views on coffee and caffeine. All of the worlds purists will demand you cut caffeine out of your diets because it is truly evil, but they are wrong and misinformed.
As with everything, excess is not advisable, but in moderation (2-4 cups of coffee a day) it can actually benefit your health in a number of ways.
The British liver trust published a report outlining the benefits of caffeine, to the extent it may prevent liver disease, cancer, cirrhosis and fibrosis.
A by-product of the breakdown of Caffeine – paraxanthine – has been shown to slow the growth of the type of tissue seen in fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. There are other compounds in coffee that offer other benefits, it is thought that some have anti-carcinogenic properties and others indicate anti viral properties.
Caffeine is a central nervous system drug and the only legal psychoactive drug in the market. It improves our mood and gives us a bit of a boost when we are feeling a little sluggish. It has positive results with depression and in the prevention of dementia.
For people without diabetes it can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but if you already have diabetes it can have adverse effects.
Similarly coffee consumption can help reduce the chance of developing gout, a compound in coffee chlorogenic acid that reduces blood levels of insulin indicates its possible effects on Uric acid levels, lowering them and in turn chances of developing gout. However, as with diabetes, if you have gout you should avoid drinking coffee to excess.
Coffee undoubtedly has many positive benefits but can also exacerbate certain problems; elevate heart rate, cause insomnia and affect smooth muscle tissue. So if any of these affect you, please be aware of moderate or lower consumption. Caffeine also inhibits the absorption of iron, so avoid taking your coffee alongside other iron rich foods.
So if you are not currently suffering with any of the above, drink coffee and protect yourself against many ailments. Avoid adding sugar and syrups to your coffee – sugar consumption is another whole topic – and try not to have vast quantities of the milk based coffees if you are trying to keep the pounds down or you’re sensitive to dairy.
If you don’t like coffee, or do plan to cut down on it, then why not start your morning with this month’s smoothie recipe, to boost your mornings energy. Green teas, coconut water, kombucha tea and warm lemon water are also healthy replacements for your morning coffee.