nutritionist Chelsea

Hi, I’m Chelsea!

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How Do You Take Your Coffee?

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

My morning starts at 5 AM each day, and the first thing I do before my mind even starts to work is make a pot of coffee.

It’s muscle memory to me after years of making coffee every single morning.

My iPhone alarm rings every morning at 5 AM.  I roll out of bed, walk downstairs, turn on my fireplace (yes, I love how a gas fireplace starts with the flip of a switch), grind fresh coffee beans, and make a pot of coffee for Matthew and me.

We drink it black in our favorite speckled coffee house mugs that we collect on our travels.

I find I drink it less for the energy jolt, and more because I love the coziness of my hot bitter drink every morning.

I frequently get asked is healthy coffee, which is a great question!

But I think an even better question may be, how do you take it?

Let me walk you through everything you should consider when reaching for your cuppa joe:

Why You Drink Coffee…

Chances are we drink coffee in the mornings and throughout the afternoon to pull ourselves out of sleepiness.  As you already know, the caffeine in coffee provides us with an energy boost.

But there are numerous benefits of coffee outside helping us wake up.

Coffee contains antioxidants, the little guys that scour your body for free radicals to help lower inflammation. 

And because inflammation is at the root of most chronic disease, drinking a daily cup of coffee has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, Parkinson’s, depression, and some cancers.

Coffee can help improve our cognitive function, which is why students, professionals, moms and everyone with a hectic schedule reaches for a daily cup… or two or three.

And for you athletes and fitness lovers, coffee enhances your athletic performance.  It’s considered a legal ergogenic aid.

…And Why You Might Not

Depending on your genes, you may experience the negative side effects of coffee.

These can include feeling jitters, heart flutters, and even anxiety.

The caffeine can disturb your sleep (and we all know how important sleep is!) and can contribute to insomnia

And if you’re adding sugar and cream or ordering your specialty coffee drinks out, you might experience a steady increase in weight and/or inflammation

More on what to include in your cup of coffee to follow. 

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Coffee?

You might be surprised that there is such a thing as too much coffee.

But that only applies to some of us!

There are specific genes that are involved in:

  • How quickly you metabolize the caffeine

  • How long the caffeine stays in your system

  • How much caffeine reaches your brain

  • How much coffee you’re naturally inclined to drink

For many people, drinking 3-4 cups per day is healthy and safe.

But for many others who have a genetic mutation, those 3-4 cups per day has some health risks.

You see, there’s a genetic mutation which compromises the breakdown of caffeine in your body. 

The slower you metabolize caffeine based on your genes, the greater risk you have of developing heart disease if you have 2 or more cups per day.

Is There a Warning Sign I’m a Slow Metabolizer?

You have a few options to know if you should be sticking to only 1 cup of coffee per day.

The first is genetic testing, which can be expensive, costing you up to $400.

Your second option is (almost) free: Do you experience jitters and heart flutters?

If you answered yes, then you’re likely a slow metabolizer with the genetic mutation that puts you a greater health risks with 2 or more cups of coffee per day.

Why Can Some People Drink Coffee at Night?

Certain genes affect how much caffeine reaches your brain and central nervous system.

Slower metabolizers are naturally inclined to drink less coffee than fast metabolizers. 

Fast metabolizers, those with all the genetic luck (haha!), may have a higher tolerance of how much coffee they drink. 

And the more coffee you drink, the better you’re able to build a slight tolerance, and the more you end up drinking another cup. 

Faster metabolizers, because they have higher tolerance and can break down the caffeine in coffee quickly, are able to enjoy coffee at the end of an evening meal.

To my slow metabolizers and to those with the genes that can make you more susceptible to anxiety induced by caffeine, let’s stick to a safe amount of 1 cup per day.

How Should I (or my barista) Make It?

Filtered coffee removes cafestol, a compound that can increases your health risks by increasing the bad type of cholesterol, LDL.

Unfiltered coffee, like from a French Press, and espresso does not remove cafestol, so your risk of high cholesterol increases. 

What should you put in it?

Almond milk and fortified soy milk for vitamin D, which helps to maintain strong bones, move muscles, send messages between the brain and body, and fight infection.

What Should You Not Put In It?

Excess sugar and cream can make weight slowly creep on and increase inflammation in the body. 

And whether or not sugar in your coffee causes an excess of calories for your day, it can still increase inflammation throughout the body. 

What About Bulletproof Coffee?

Bulletproof Coffee is a drink of coffee, MCT oil, and grass-fed butter, and has been a trending drink for the last few years due to its health claims.

Bulletproof coffee is said to suppress hunger, help you lose weight, boost your energy, and improve mental clarity.

If you missed a recent Facebook Live I did on Bulletproof Coffee, you can watch it here:

Who Should Limit Coffee?

There are a few groups of people who should limit or avoid coffee:

  • The elderly

  • Those with high blood pressure

  • Those who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders may benefit from limiting coffee and caffeine

  • Those who have trouble sleeping or insomnia

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg caffeine per day (that’s about 2 cups of coffee)

How Do You Take Your Coffee? 

I hope this article helps you cut through the clutter surrounding coffee, caffeine, when to drink it, how to make it, and when to avoid it.

And with that, I raise my one mug of black coffee and cheers your health!

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