How Bad is It: Coffee?
Coffee consumption is increasing in Nepal more than ever before. The caffeine intake however can be something to consider. In conversation with Ms. Sonal Talegaonkar who is a Consultant Nutritionist, we get to know more about coffee.
- The talk of the era:
Nowadays having coffee and cookies or coffee and a croissant is just like a normal day. Coffee culture has boomed in recent years with so many imported and domestic coffee options. Whether it is about getting a quick boost of energy to socializing, coffee is everywhere.
- Bad effects:
Over 400 milligrams of caffeine (about 4 cups of coffee) may bring out symptoms of anxiety, palpitation, and high blood pressure. Every person has a different tolerance level.
Increased heartbeat, nervousness, sweating, palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness are the symptoms of too much caffeine consumption.
- Avoid caffeine consumption if:
Coffee tolerance is a subjective topic. Some people can have 4-5 cups a day and still be fine and some can get jittery even in one. If coffee does give you acid reflux, don't ignore it. "Long-term, chronic acid reflux could lead to esophagitis, inflammation of the esophagus. You can go for decaf, or herbal teas, or simply eat something before coffee.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must limit caffeine to less than 200 mg daily (in short 1 cappuccino which has 150-154 mg caffeine)
If you have sleep problems, you must avoid caffeine after 3 pm because caffeine interferes with circadian melatonin rhythms, delaying the onset of sleep if consumed close to bedtime.
If you have hypertension or any heart-related problems, limit your coffee consumption. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it decreases the size of blood vessels and can raise blood pressure.
If you are struggling with anxiety, or depression, or are on medication (caffeine affects the absorption of medicines)
If you have a migraine, reduce the caffeine intake (caffeine is a diuretic which means it makes you urinate more and increases fluid loss which triggers more headaches). In 5-10% of cases, caffeine also gives relief to migraine.
- Coffee on an empty stomach:
NO, people should highly avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach because coffee is a gastric irritant leading to increased acidity in the stomach.
Eating alkaline foods along with your coffee helps reduce the total acidity level. So make yourself a plate of eggs, avocado toast, or oatmeal.
On waking up have overnight soaked almonds and followed by a glass of water and then coffee.
Also, some people have a habit of consuming coffee post meals which is a bad thing because caffeine won't allow your body to get all the nutrients from food and hinder the absorption of iron.
- Coffee and weight loss:
You lose weight by being in a calorie deficit and doing a combination of strength & cardio exercises. Caffeine is an ergogenic aid which means it acts as a stimulant, increases muscle endurance, and aerobic endurance, increased focus & alertness, enhances physical performance, and increases metabolic rate.
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, a biologically active compound that slows the absorption of carbohydrates. (Only black coffee)
Coffee can be considered a cheap fat burner (to some extent) Drinking coffee 30 minutes before a workout can enhance training performance.
- Suggestions for Coffee addicts:
Switch to green tea, which has a pH of 7 to 10 and which does not irritate the intestinal lining of the stomach. Go for decaf options. Drink more water. People are more dehydrated and coffee being a diuretic causes more dehydration in the body which triggers headaches, jitters, and palpitations.
Opt for lemon water, fresh juices, herbal teas, green tea, and masala chai.
Please note that 1-2 cups a day is good to go if you have no major side effects.