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Your Morning Coffee May Be Causing More (Health) Issues Than You Think

What I’m about to say, I’ve said many times before; that’s because it’s something that I absolutely believe to be true: I’m not sure how many topics, especially as they relate to one’s health, are more polarizing than coffee (most specifically, the caffeine that’s in it).While on one hand, science reveals that coffee can help to strengthen your heart, reduce your risk for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, boost your energy levels, improve your blood sugar levels, and even increase your longevity, there are also numerous reports that too much of a good thing can prove to be problematic on a few levels too.


Takean article that I recently read, for example. It basically stated that you’re better off starting off your mornings with water instead of coffee because extra hydration will help to prevent your body from receiving “mixed messages” as far as your stress hormone (cortisol) is concerned. As a result, you can end up with more energy and productivity than caffeine alone can provide.

That’s not all, though. If you happen to be someone who can’t see starting your day without a big ole’ cup of java in your hands, here are 10 solid reasons why you might want to rethink that — or at least take the “less is more approach” to coffee overall.

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1. Less Nutrition Absorption

You might’ve read somewhere thatthe majority of Americans do not get the nutrients that they need from their diet alone. In fact, most don’t get nearly enough vitamin D and E from the foods that they eat, half need more vitamin C and one-third are lacking in the vitamin A and magnesium departments. That’s why I thought it was important to start all of this off by sharing that caffeine consumptioncan make it harder for your body to fully absorb nutrients; especially when it comes to calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Does this mean not to drink coffee at all? No. What it does mean is if you think that you can’t get through the day without it, you should consider what it may be potentially robbing you of in the process (especially if you drink more than a couple of cups a day).

2. Also, Less Iron Absorption

If you’re someone who is anemic (or borderline anemic), this is something that you definitely should keep in mind. Did you know that coffee also has the ability to significantly reduce how much iron your system is able to absorb?For instance, one study revealed that drinking coffee with a hamburger meal can decrease how much iron you’re able to get from the burger by almost 40 freakin’ percent. It’s mostly due to the polyphenols (plant compounds) that areable to inhibit how your body digests the mineral.

Again, does this mean that you can have no java at all? Some health experts say that it’s more about paying attention to when you drink it.For example, one study said that consuming coffee an hour before a meal will have very little of an iron effect at all. My two cents? If you do have low iron, speak with your doctor first. Better to be safe than sorry…right?

3. More Belly Fat (Maybe)

Did you know that approximately65 percent of Americans consume coffee? Not only that but apparently a lot of one’s genetic make-up helps to determine if coffee is good for them or not (you can read more about thathere). Maybe that’s why some people can drink coffee and not gain an inch while others will and pack on the pounds. Honestly, a lot of the weight surrounding coffee consumption has more to do with what you put in your coffee cup —sugar, cream, etc.— than anything else.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that since caffeine has the ability to raise your cortisol (natural stress hormone) levels and cortisol has been linked to added abdominal fat (especially in women) — let’s just say that if you’re trying to get a six-pack, coffee is not the most effective way to make that happen; not by a long shot.

4. (Potentially) More Fragile Bones

Another mineral that isn’t the biggest fan of coffee is calcium.Some research indicates that consuming caffeine can actually interfere with how your body processes calcium. For instance, if you happen to drink a lot of coffee, whenever you urinate, it can actually cause a lot of the calcium that’s stored in your body to leave your system; that can ultimately lead to weaker bones, especially as you age. So, how much is too much? Reportedly, five Red Bulls or 3-4 eight-ounce cups of coffee a day is definitely pushing the limit.

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5. Hormonal Imbalance

If there’s one thing that all women should want to be hypervigilant about, it’s making sure that their hormones remain as balanced as possible. Well, one thing that doesn’t really care about that goal is caffeine. Again, not only does it tend to increase your cortisol (stress) levels, but it also can throw off your blood sugar (if you’re not careful), make your endocrine system (the system that’s in charge of your hormones) sluggish and it can create erratic sleep patterns which can ultimately result in a suppression of how your hormones are produced. Out of all of the reasons in this article to pay attention to how much coffee you drink, this is one that definitely should not be ignored.

6. Asthma Medication Drama

I bet most of you would never guess thatsome studies reveal that drinking coffee can reduce asthma symptoms (for some people) by as much as almost 30 percent.A part of the reason is that, since caffeine is a stimulant, it can (temporarily) help to reduce what causes respiratory muscle fatigue which can result in asthma attacks. At the same time, make sure to not consume caffeinefour hours or less prior to a lung test (it can affect the results).

Also,some studies say that caffeine can make it more difficult for your body to absorb any asthma-related medication that you may be on. So, if you do take something for asthma and coffee is totally your thing, let your doctor know — just to be on the safe side.

7. More Hot Flashes

If you happen to be in a latter stage of perimenopause or very close to menopause, it’s common to experience hot flashes. Long story short, they’re what happen when your hormones are all over the place which can throwyour “body’s thermostat”, known as your hypothalamus off, making it highly sensitive to temperature.Although things like spicy foods, alcohol, hot weather, stress, and even tight clothes can trigger a hot flash,so can caffeine. So, if you’ve got hot flashes going on and you can’t seem to catch a break, you might want to push that coffee cup back; see how that makes you feel.

8. Possible Pregnancy Problems

You might’ve heard somewhere that it’s okay to have caffeine while you’re pregnant, so long as it’s consumed in extreme moderation. However, there is more and more intel that says you really should consider going without it altogether since caffeine is connected to things like an uptick in miscarriage, stillbirths, low birth weight in newborns, and sometimes, even certain types of cancer. You don’t want to take a chance on this one. At the very least, go the decaf route (and even do that sparingly) until the little one is born.

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9. Dehydration

Every time that I read that75 percent of Americans are not just dehydrated but chronically dehydrated, it trips me out. And sincecoffee is a diuretic, this means that it pulls water out of your system because it causes you to urinate more.To be fair on this one, though, so long as you limit your coffee intake to less than five cups a day, it shouldn’t have too much (more) a dehydration effect on you (to be sure, keep a glass of water nearby).

10. Insomnia

And finally, one more time for the cheap seats:coffee is a stimulant. That’s why, it makes all the sense in the world that too much caffeine can wreak total havoc on your quality of rest and sleep. In fact, some research indicates that even having caffeine as early as six hours prior to your bedtime can cut down your sleep by an hour. This is why you should have no more than 3-4 cups of coffee a day (max) and avoid drinking it after around lunchtime. Otherwise, you could end up sleep deprived and that comes withpotential health-related issues like anxiety, depression, obesity, heart attacks, and strokes.

___

So what if you do want to lighten up on your coffee intake yet you know that you still need more energy in the morning? Some healthier alternatives includematcha tea, yaupon tea, chicory coffee,mushroom coffee,black tea,chai tea, and golden milk. Since all of these come with less caffeine and their own pretty impressive health benefits, why not give one or all of ‘em a shot?

Hey, you just might like it. What’s been scientifically proven is your system will. Drink up!

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Featured image by Tom Werner/Getty Images

 

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