Full of beans

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

Naomi Murray from Botanica Health in Rusthall explains the myriad benefits of your daily cup of coffee and how it could help you live longer…


Coffee can get a bad rap and yet so many expert studies support its consumption as – dare I say – a medicine. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that among older adults, those who drank coffee (caffeinated or decaf) had a lower risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and other medical complications than non-coffee drinkers.

In fact, the study concluded that two or more cups of coffee per day equated to a 10% reduction in overall death for men and a 15% reduction in overall death for women, when compared with non-coffee drinkers.

An interesting point about coffee is how and when you drink it. Coffee should make you feel calm but alert, energetic but not wired. Many people feel shaky, nervous, and anxious after coffee. This is quite obviously not a helpful, healthy way to feel.

Therefore, why not adhere to the following tips when it comes to drinking coffee…

Don’t have coffee on rising on an empty stomach. Have it with a meal containing protein and carbohydrate. Do have coffee with some fat, like milk or cream. Sugar or honey added to your coffee will help the liver deal with the metabolic effects of the caffeine. Or drink it with something sweet. Perhaps add collagen for another wonderful health promoting dimension – gelatin is anti-stress and has a calming effect on the body and is also anti-inflammatory. Experiment with coffee and see how you feel. Coffee intolerance can be a sign of hypothyroidism and care should be taken.

It was previously thought that the caffeine component in coffee provoked the need to go to the toilet, but it’s not entirely true. Caffeine contributes to the laxative effect but a 1999 review in the National Library of Medicine concluded that ‘caffeine cannot solely account for these gastrointestinal effects.’

In fact, both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee stimulate the production of a hormone called gastrin. This signals to the stomach to release more hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, which causes stomach contractions to increase, and the valve between your small and large intestines to relax. In other words, gastrin promotes digestion.

When choosing coffee

  • Be mindful that coffee is the number one pesticide sprayed crop in the world.
  • Did you know that 97% of the world’s coffee beans are non-organic and treated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals.
  • Organic coffee is the best option to lower this toxic load.
  • Interestingly the studies don’t mention if organic coffee was consumed, and I have the feeling probably not, and yet it still had beneficial effects.

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