Coffee/Tea: Good or Bad for you?

Is your morning coffee or tea an okay option, really bad for you, or is it actually good?

I get these questions about coffee and health all the time and it is smart to take a look at both the good and the bad.

Now, if I tell you only the good side of the story then I would sound like a politician. I am here to give you the good and the bad and tell you how you can incorporate your favorite coffee or tea into your healthy meal plan.

The Ugly Side of Caffeine
Almost all processed coffee and tea contains a lot of caffeine. This is usually the primary reason people make coffee their drink of choice in the morning. Caffeine is a drug like any other and comes with a long list of side effects. Have you ever tried not having your coffee in the morning? The headache that comes on when you try and kick this habit can be brutal (just like with other drugs) but creating a dependency and addiction like this is harmful to the body.

Second, coffee is extremely acidic. Our bodies function at optimum levels when they are slightly more alkaline (the opposite of acidic). It is best for us to greatly reduce any foods that will drive the body’s pH to be more acidic, and eat more of foods that are alkaline (like fruits and veggies). An acidic body pH is like a magnet for all kinds of illnesses. Also, an alkaline body has a much stronger immune system, making illness much less likely.

Last but not least, the caffeine in coffee and tea will abuse your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are chiefly responsible for releasing hormones in conjunction with stress, including cortisol and adrenaline respectively. Your adrenals release your “fight or flight” hormones, basically giving you a nice “boost” when needed. Unfortunately, people who drink coffee all day long are consistently beating on their adrenals. This is the equivalent of whipping a tired horse when he is exhausted. Eventually he will not move at all.

The Pretty Side of Caffeine
Coffee tastes so good and makes everyone feel great in the morning. (Wait, isn’t that a good enough reason to drink it?!)

Many studies have shown that coffee can help in the prevention and treatment of diseases and illnesses as varied as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, liver disease, skin cancer, Parkinson’s disease and more. Although I don’t believe coffee would be the cure all to any of these diseases, many ancient cultures did rely on the coffee bean to cure a long list of ailments. Not to mention, small doses of caffeine can increase performance and mental focus.

Green Tea Myths
When discussing eating right and choosing the right foods, green tea is a great drink to include with a long list of benefits. If nothing else, green tea is a wonderful source of antioxidants which are important in cancer prevention. Most importantly, green, oolong and black tea all come from one tea plant: Camellia sinensis. They are just processed differently. It’s like when you remove the outer fruit from black pepper; the inner seed is white pepper, or like when a green olive ripens and becomes a black olive.

Green tea has even been found to raise metabolism and aid in fat burning. Before you go take a green tea bath though, its effects are really minor when compared to the effects of sound nutrition and exercise plans. Now that I’ve said that, don’t think you can eat junk food and just wash it down with green tea to counteract the effects of the fat rich food! It is noteworthy though, that a cup of green tea has at least one-third less caffeine than the same cup of coffee. So if you are going to indulge in caffeine, at least make the healthier choice and switch to green tea.

What can a coffee and tea drinker do?
1. Limit your coffee and tea intake to two 8 oz. (200 ml approx) cups per day. No, not 2 of each, 2 total. Any more than that and you would be considered as a heavy addict.
2. If you are currently dependent on a lot of caffeine each day, replace 1 or 2 cups of coffee/black tea with green tea instead. Green tea has much less caffeine and will help combat the ugly detox symptoms.
3. Do not jack up your coffee with sugar, milk, syrup, and whipped cream. Use stevia or xylitol to sweeten and avoid all the empty, harmful calories. A teaspoon of half and half won’t hurt either. Please oh please, do not use any of those flavored creamers. They are closer to someone’s chemistry experiment than they are to real food.
4. Make sure to make your food choices healthy. Aside from caffeine, avoiding other acidic foods like sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods will lighten the acid load on the body.
5. Make sure the coffee you drink is organic. Conventional coffee is filled with pesticides and chemicals and should be avoided at all costs.

There is no need to give up your morning coffee but it is important to drink the right types of coffee, without the added unhealthy extras and, as with most things, in moderation. Get started on your own weight loss goals right away with these Healthy Weight Loss Meal Plans.

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