Why am I suggesting that you quit coffee?
If you know me personally, you know that I adore coffee. I used to imbibe a cup (or two) of coffee each morning with cream and sugar. Then I lived in Italy for three years and consumed copious amounts of cappuccino, espresso, and macchiato. When we returned to the States, I tried my first Whole 30 . . . which worked great because it allowed you to have coffee, though it was without a sweetener. So I gave up my honey and haven’t looked back, okay . . . well I do miss it, but now I don’t like it in my coffee.
As you can see, I have been an avid coffee drinker.
Or more honestly, a coffee addict . . .
I’m a lightweight. While some people have to drink three of four cups a day to suffer withdrawal symptoms, I can drink one tazzo of espresso and have the same withdrawal. Or just one cup of french press. I feel what the coffee does to my system and I feel when its gone.
I’m starting with my history because it is important that you know I’m not some stupid tea drinker telling you to give up your coffee. I am a coffee addict/lover who has realized that I can’t keep pretending it isn’t an addiction that is challenging my health.
Today, I’m going to share with you 6 reasons you need to quit coffee for good. For me, this has been a long time coming and I need to get this out there so others know what I’ve learned. Your health is worth reading this post, my health is worth me sharing that I’m not going to be an every day coffee drinker any more.
6 Reasons You Need to Quit Coffee
Number One – Coffee is a stimulant.
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. A stimulant is a drug. In fact, the National Institute for Drug Abuse states that the medical community has stopped prescribing as many stimulants due to the potential for abuse and addiction.1 While stimulants are still used to treat certain conditions, the medical community has realized that they can be addictive and are not healthy for long term use.
As a stimulant, coffee “increase[s] alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate[s] blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.”1 For my life, I was using coffee to treat my ADD tendencies. I could focus better while “on” caffeine. I craved the energy. Unfortunately, this added to my addiction. I didn’t want anyone telling me that coffee was not good for me because I wanted its benefits.
I ignored the nay sayers and I focused on those who gave me reasons why it was healthy.
Number Two – Coffee raises cortisol.
Coffee also raises cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released by the adrenal gland. According to a study conducted in 1996, “caffeine acts to increase cortisol secretion by elevating production of ACTH at the pituitary.”2 Therefore, coffee is sending signals to your pituitary gland which in turn sense signals to the adrenal gland and releases cortisol into your system.
Having elevated cortisol is not healthy for our every day life. If continually high, it can cause anxiety, feelings of unrest, and agitation. Another study on cortisol suggests that “chronic elevations of cortisol secretion may have implications for long-term health. Cortisol can alter immune-system responses. Its long-term elevation is associated with depression and altered central nervous system responsiveness, including sensitization of the limbic system [in charge of emotion, behavior, mood, motivation], alterations in declarative memory [retrievable memory], and alterations in frontal lobe function.”3
In other words, drinking coffee regularly can sustain your cortisol at higher levels putting you at risk for anxiety issues, immune-system problems, depression, altered nervous system responses, emotions and moods that are charged and on edge, memory recall problems, and frontal lobe issues that have to do with planning, personality, problem solving, and other higher functions. This list is long enough to convince me of the implications of heightened cortisol. I want to keep off the coffee and find some good stress relievers after realizing how much cortisol can change our body for the worse.
Anyone have a stress ball handy?
Number 3 – Coffee raises blood pressure.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is affecting 1 out of every 3 adults in America according to Dr. Axe. It’s really no wonder when about everyone you know is drinking . . . coffee. Coffee raises blood pressure!
High blood pressure = bad
Number 4 – Coffee contributes to anxiety.
If you drink coffee will you immediately have anxiety? No. However, I know a lot of women who struggle with anxiety who are being adversely affected by their coffee intake. If you already have a tendency to stress and become overburdened with the life around you, then coffee and caffeine is going to exacerbate your anxiety. Remaining calm and peaceful is important for those who struggle with anxiety. Coffee hypes things up, gets emotions going, and creates an artificial high. This can lead to dangerous highs and lows for those with anxiety disorders.
You will also see below that coffee depletes some of the nutrients that are so very helpful for dealing with anxiety.
If you have anxiety, quit coffee for your own peace.
Number 5 – Coffee is a diuretic and depletes your body of nutrients and especially magnesium.
Coffee is a natural diuretic. Meaning it flushes your system of all sorts of things including your nutrients and minerals. Magnesium is one of the minerals that are lost during this process. Magnesium is “involved in hundreds of reactions, including those responsible for heart function and energy production. It activates enzymes involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism and is required for DNA production and function.”7 Having low magnesium is a huge deal!
In addition, coffee makes the system more acidic leading to our small intestine becoming thinned. This can lead to leaky gut and decreases the small intestines ability to absorb nutrients. Our guts are so very important for our immune system, allergy resistance, and nutrient absorption.
We must let go of our coffee addiction in order to save our guts and our magnesium.
Number 6 – Coffee can lead to infertility issues.
I’m so thankful that very few of you have to be concerned about this problem. However, for some women and couples desiring to have a family, this is huge. Coffee can compound thyroid issues, decrease nutrients and magnesium, and lead to uterine contractions. These three issues are a terrible trio for women (like myself) who are struggling with infertility.
I decided to give up coffee in order to begin taking my basal temperatures in the mornings as suggested by the author of The Infertility Cure. She is one of the FIRST people who laid it out straight and said no coffee while tracking because coffee affects your thyroid which affects your temperatures. This is huge. I won’t beat around the bush . . . if you are dealing with infertility, leave coffee alone.
Summary and Grace
While I know it is much easier and tempting to listen to all of the people who tout the supposed benefits of coffee, I hope you will take a serious moment to consider the negatives. Coffee addiction is more serious than many of us realize, because who wants to be the one suggesting that all the coffee addicts of the world retire their mugs? (Oh wait, that’s me.)
For me, I have decided to stop drinking coffee regularly. I’ve decided that I will have a cup of coffee once a month. Let me tell you, it’s hard not to have a cup the second day. And the third. However, if you give yourself a limit, stick with it. This is one addiction that you can conquer and your body will benefit from your choice!
If you have any questions about the points above or need suggestions on how to quit, please leave your questions and comments below.
Ciao for now!
THE Boholistic Mom
Sources and Resources
- National Institute for Drug Abuse | What are stimulants?
- Stress-like adrenocorticotropin responses to caffeine in young healthy men.
Lovallo WR, Al’Absi M, Blick K, Whitsett TL, Wilson MF
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1996 Nov; 55(3):365-9.
- Lovallo, W. R., Whitsett, T. L., al’ Absi, M., Sung, B. H., Vincent, A. S., & Wilson, M. F. (2005). Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67(5), 734–739.
- Dr. Axe | High Blood Pressure Symptoms You Can Reverse Naturally
- Be Brain Fit | 15 Links Between Caffeine and Anxiety
- Psychology Today | Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill
- Jillian Michaels | Magnesium & Coffee