Coffee is the agreed-upon elixir of the gods. It wakes us up, it ties us over business meetings, helps us socialize with coworkers, it is the most popular activity on first dates and it symbolizes the end of a long day as a last drink after our meal. Coffee evolves around our daily activities. Still, coffee has taken some hits lately as health nuts claim it is not a wise beverage to drink. Is it true? We have searched the data for you and uncovered the truth about coffee.
Health benefits of coffee
Coffee is a product of nature and although it has almost no calories, it does have a couple of important nutrients. A single cup of coffee for example contains manganese and potassium which are important for your brain, nervous system and blood flow. It also contains a set of B vitamins which are especially important and harder to get when you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. One cup of coffee may be small, but consuming a couple a day quickly adds to your vitamin intake. Some research suggests that coffee may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer, Alzheimer and high blood pressure. For the sporty ones you may be happy to learn that coffee has been found to increase performance in training and decrease muscle soreness afterwards. This does not sound so bad right? So what about the cons of drinking coffee?
Health dangers of coffee
The negative effects of coffee mainly show up when it is over consumed or in people with a sensitivity for caffeine. Let’s address both!
Overconsumption is anything up from 4 cups of coffee a day. Caffeine is the substance in coffee that is healthy in a small dose but unhealthy when consumed too much of. It can cause anything from an irritable bowel to insomnia, headaches and even high blood pressure. Coffee in high dose can also be addicting, causing you to need more every time to experience the same effects on your energy levels. Absence of it can cause irritability, shaking, cravings and headaches. The best remedy in this case is prevention: Try to stick with no more than 4 cups of coffee a day and make sure you enjoy the hell out of them.
Caffeine sensitivity effects only a small amount of people, although it is unkown how many exactly. Caffeine sensitivity is categorized in three groups, high sensitivity, medium sensitivity and regular/low sensitivity. The low group can drink up to 4 cups of coffee a day and still feel perfectly fine. For the other two groups this amount ranges between 2 to zero cups a day. Symptoms of too much caffeine for these groups include heart palpitations, stomach cramps, panic attacks, raised anxiety levels and headaches. If this sounds like you, you may want to cut down on your coffee consumption and choose a good quality decaf one or quit it all together. Luckily there are some great coffee alternatives and we happen to serve a few of them!
Matcha tea and mate tea for more subtle energy
Both contain caffeine but in much smaller amounts than coffee (roughly about ⅕). Due to the other characteristics of both drinks, the energy spike is also released much slower and more consistently than from coffee. While coffee gives you an almost instant energy hit and crashes you afterwards, mate and matcha release energy more slowly and throughout the day. It is still wise to not drink it after 12 pm when you are a light sleeper.
Ginger shots for a vitamin boost
You already know we are a fan of our ginger shots. Not only do they give you instant energy and an immunity boost, they also contain almost all vitamins that coffee does and some more! Ginger also gives you a good amount of iron, zinc, folate and vitamin C. Zinc and vitamin C work on your immunity while iron and folate are important for healthy blood.
Plantbased protein shake for your workout boost
Some extra protein is the best way to help your sore muscles after an intense workout. As protein is one of the building blocks of muscle cells, it can also help them recover quicker so you are up for another session soon. As it can be difficult to eat enough protein sometimes, protein shakes can help. Go for a natural, plantbased one and you will get just the best without any unnecessary ingredients added in!
Written by, Maritza Kolenbrander, Food Psychologist at Plantifulplan