Is coffee good for you? Bad for you? Neutral? It’s a debate we seem to hear a new argument about all the time. Some research shows coffee has benefits. Other studies show it has negative effects. So, what’s the truth about coffee? Is it good for you or not? Unfortunately, I can’t definitively tell you whether you should or shouldn’t consume coffee. That’s because it depends on what your overall health is like. Some people do just fine consuming a moderate amount of coffee on a daily basis. But for other people, coffee can cause problems. Let’s take a look at some factors that might affect whether or not you should break up with coffee.
First off, it’s relevant to note that around 80% of American adults consume coffee everyday. Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. And it’s easy to see why! Caffeine has some obvious positive effects, such as helping you feel more alert and even boosting your mood.
When Should You Lay off the Coffee?
But what about when you consume too much caffeine—or consume it when your body is already struggling with symptoms? Here are some indications you might want to lay off the coffee, at least temporarily:
You suffer from anxiety. If you have anxiety, caffeine can intensify your symptoms. Now, your daily cup of coffee is probably not causing your anxiety. But if you’re 5 cups in by noon and you notice your anxiety is increasing, the caffeine is certainly not helping.
You struggle with blood sugar regulation and/or adrenal fatigue. If your body is under stress—which is the case if you have either of these issues—adding caffeine is not going to help. Instead of helping your body get sustainable energy sources, caffeine will give you a quick boost, followed by a crash. It’s best to lay off the coffee while you are trying to heal your body, then reintroduce it when you are healthy.
You have a hard time staying hydrated. If your body is desperate for water and instead you provide it with iced coffees and Diet Cokes all day, you’re going to get dehydrated. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it can accelerate dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include excessive thirst, headaches, dizziness, and irritability. If you’re struggling throughout your day with dehydration, it’s time to cut back on the caffeine.
You don’t sleep well. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can affect your ability to sleep—especially if you consume it within a few hours of your bedtime. If you’re struggling with sleep, caffeine is certainly not going to help.
You can’t go without it. Caffeine is highly addictive. People who consume it daily typically experience withdrawal symptoms when they go without—headaches, irritability, etc. If you feel like you’re developing a dependence on coffee, it might be time to cut back.
I know coffee is the magic morning elixir for many of us (myself included!). It might be hard to picture giving it up—even for a short time. But if you are struggling with any of these issues, it may be in your best interest to take a break from the caffeine to allow your body to heal and restore.
Interested in learning about other nutritional changes you can make to start healing your symptoms, so you can feel your best? Join me for my 6-week group nutrition program, Educate and Activate! Enrollment is open now and the group starts April 19th.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.