Coffee has been hailed as the magical elixir to youth, energy and high metabolism, but when it comes down to it, we all love coffee for the ritual that it is associated with.
The smell of roasted beans in the morning, the hiss of the boiling kettle and the familiar coffee shop packaging that signals the start of our day.
So why was it that when I decided to go on a detox diet - which called for refraining from drinking the stuff for a week - did I experience a heightened concentration levels and an unusual calmness in my daily routine?
As it turns out, the disadvantages of coffee far outweigh the positive effects.
Purely ground coffee may have some advantages in the short term, but taking a closer look at the side effects it incurs on the body and mind I was alarmed at the information I uncovered…
1. Coffee increases anxiety: Coffee damages the nervous system.
People who drink coffee get less sleep which in turn inhibits their ability to handle stress.
Stress is even heightened as soon as the hot liquid enters your system.
It releases hormones like epinephrine, cortisol, and glucocoticoids, which result in the immediate boost we are all familiar with, but later results in long-term tension and anxiety.
2. Coffee ages your skin: A lack of good sleep is like putting a huge dent in your regeneration time.
Premature aging is also caused by the dehydrating effects of coffee.
You probably already know this, but coffee does not count as part of your daily liquid allowance, it actually hinders it and leaves your skin dry and susceptible to permanent damage.
3. Caffeine impedes creativity: Whether you are in a creative job role or not, multiple daily tasks and problem-solving skills require a certain level of creativity.
Marina Konnikova, a New Yorker contributor and the author of The New York Times bestseller "Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes" stated, “Creative insights and imaginative solutions often occur when we stop working on a particular problem and let our mind move on to something unrelated. In one recent study, participants showed marked improvements on a task requiring creative thought… after they had engaged in a different, undemanding task that facilitated mind wandering.
"The more their mind wandered when they stepped away, the better they fared at being creative.”
Simply put, caffeine results in pinpoint focus, but it doesn't allow the mind to wander and fries the creative process.
4. Caffeine is a major cause of depression: Coffee drinkers have lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain, which is the hormone responsible for releasing feelings of well-being and happiness.
The bestselling author of “Caffeine Blues” and pioneer in the field of anti-aging, Stephen Cherniske, stated that countless coffee drinkers end up taking anti- depressants because of the lack of sleep, fatigue, and many psychological issues that result.
5. Caffeine affects the absorption of certain medications: Tricylic antidepressants are completely deterred once ingested with coffee.
Cherniske also adds that one cannot truly get off anti- depressants while still drinking coffee.
So it’s basically a vicious cycle with coffee being a major catalyst in the equation.
6. The energy boost coffee results in is only an illusion: The immediate pick-me-up we feel from caffeine is nothing more than your body struggling to adjust to the increased levels of stress hormones.
According to Cherniske, as soon as you drink coffee your body starts producing adrenalin, “Adrenalin is what gives athletes that winning burst of energy and Good Samaritans the ability to rescue people by lifting cars.
"By stimulating your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, caffeine puts your body in this "fight-or-flight" state, which is useless while you're just sitting at your desk.
"When this adrenal high wears off later, you feel the drop in terms of fatigue, irritability, headache or confusion.”
7. Caffeine slows down your metabolism: Coffee offsets your body’s PH levels. It is a highly acidic substance that taxes your organs.
The human body is a magnificent machine that finds solutions to every harmful substance we tax it with.
So how does it deal with high level of acidity? It holds onto extra fat in order to protect delicate organs.
8. Vitamin B deficiency: Caffeine is a diuretic. Water-soluble vitamins, such as B-vitamins, can be depleted as a result of the fluid loss.
In addition, it interferes with the metabolism of some B-vitamins, such as thiamine (vitamin B1).
The one exception to this rule appears to be vitamin B12, which is absorbed faster in acidic environments.
9. Countless additives heighten the negative side effects: We’ve all heard of the array of problems that cow’s milk, soy milk and artificial sweeteners afflict on our bodies, but more important are the additives that are included before the coffee gets to your cup.
Most coffee plants are subjected to heavy pesticide use.
Unless you are getting your hands on fair-trade organic coffee, you can be sure that you are exposing your system to a large amount of pesticide residue with every creamy latte.
10. Cochineal dyes, the not-so-secret ingredient: Starbucks has come under fire for using cochineal dyes, which basically means “ground up bugs”, specifically, cockroaches! Yes, most pre-ground coffee has ground cockroaches in it and they can’t be processed out.
According to the FDA’s own studies, up to 10 percent of green coffee beans are roasted and ground with insects in them.
It takes a minimum of eight weeks to flush the side effects of caffeine out of your system, and the withdrawal period, although short, is not the most pleasant experience.
The Wall Street Journal even reported that withdrawal from caffeine is now classified as a mental illness.
So while coffee does have its benefits - such as antioxidants and creating a vitamin B12 friendly environment - is it really worth the cost of addiction to such an unhealthy substance?
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