Blog - 7 Reasons to Reduce Your Coffee Intake

By The Haven Team: 10 Sep 2014

Most of us like to enjoy the occasional Coffee. We love the rich roasted taste and the “pick me up” feeling it gives us. But for many people coffee becomes an addiction, a way to get an injection of energy when needed or a regular treat throughout the day as we sit at our keyboards.

Like many things coffee is (usually) fine in small amounts. Good quality coffee is a source of antioxidants like chlorogenic acid which may aid weight loss. Studies show that it can improve alertness and may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, kidney stones and liver cirrhosis.

Taken in larger doses, coffee has been found to be harmful. Below you will find some hard facts about overconsumption of coffee. So how much is overconsumption? Well like everything, it depends on who you are, your health levels and your general constitution. As a general rule of thumb 1 or 2 coffee’s per day is plenty for your body to process.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you will benefit from reducing your coffee intake:

  • Do you experience heartburn, indigestion and stomach upset on a regular basis?
  • Do you get headaches if you don't have caffeine?
  • Do you have problems falling asleep and / or wake up during the night?
  • Do you feel agitated or tired if you don't have a caffeinated beverage in the middle of the day?

For those who want to know the facts:

  1. Coffee and Hydrochloric Acid
    Drinking coffee on an empty stomach stimulates hydrochloric acid production. This is the acid that we need to break down food in the stomach. If we produce too much through over consumption of coffee then we are likely to not be producing enough when we need it. Undigested food will cause bloating, gas, IBS symptoms.
  2. Ulcers, IBS, Acidity
    Many of the compounds of coffee which are acidic can irritate and weaken the lining of our stomach and digestive tract leading to IBS, gastritis, ulcers and Crohn’s disease.
  3. Heartburn Problems
    Coffee relaxes the oesophageal sphincter, which should be closed after food has passed through into the stomach. If this sphincter remains open, we get acid reflux or heartburn.
  4. Coffee as a Laxative
    Many people know and use the laxative properties of coffee to deal with constipation. However by stimulating the movement of the colon, the stomach will empty quickly often passing through undigested food, which creates difficulty in absorbing nutrients. This also increases irritation and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract.
  5. Mineral Absorption
    Coffee affects iron absorption in your stomach and particularly our kidneys ability to retain calcium, zinc and other essential minerals.
  6. Acrylamide in Coffee
    As coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures Acrylamide is formed. The darker the roast the higher the levels of Acrylamide are likely to be. This is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance.
  7. Stress and Tension
    Drinking lots of coffee will promote the release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These chemicals increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels – putting us into a “fight or flight” stress response.

Coffee also affects our nervous system by interfering with our neurotransmitters, which help us to regulate mood and stress levels.

Help with Reducing Your Coffee Intake

As with reducing any kind of drug, It’s useful to put something in its place. Here are some things that will make cutting back easier and benefit your overall health.

  1. Rest more: you are probably going to feel tired to begin with although once your system regulates you will have more energy.
  2. Exercise if you don’t already. 20 mins a day or 3 times a week is a good focus but anything you can do will make a difference. Choose things that you enjoy. All movement is good. And if you don’t like to exercise then at least encourage yourself to walk a little each day. Exercise is essential for your body to function well.
  3. Drink more water. This will significantly improve your health and whole wellbeing. It gives you energy and regulates your nervous system and endocrine system to balance mood and vitality.
  4. Snack during the day if you need to. Sometimes we reach for a coffee because our energy is dipping. Take snacks with you. Fruit, nuts, oatcakes or any other healthy snacks that give energy.

Complementary Medicine can Help

If you want help with reducing or giving up coffee, complementary therapies can help. Your therapist can help you find out more about what you body needs to recover, help you to de-stress and detox and advise you on foods and supplements that heal.