Could That One Thing You Do Every Morning Be Harming or Helping You?

Aahh.. can’t you just taste it?  I am a BIG fan of my morning coffee.  As a health coach, I have heard everything from, “Coffee is good for your health,” to “Coffee can wreak havoc on your health.”  Hmm.. what are we to believe?  Well, here’s where our “primary” foods come into play.  By “primary”, I mean those foods or experiences in life that truly nourish us and make us happy.  What better way to achieve good health than through a happy mind?  I don’t know about you but I feel really happy when I take that first sip of coffee.  But, I also know that there are some harmful effects of drinking "too much" coffee also.  

I know coffee isn't for everyone.  Some people experience a "wired" feeling and just feel like everything in racing.  That might  be reason to think about "how much coffee you're drinking" or "how strong the coffee beans are."  

So, let's take a look at some of the "pros" and "cons" of our morning ritual.... 


  • Coffee is a plant, high in antioxidants, which come from the naturally occurring phytochemicals found in the beans.  Antioxidants protect our cells from damage from those pesky free radicals;

  • According the Harvard Health Publications, coffee may improve cognitive function as we age;

  • Research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis. According to Dr. Rob van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, people who regularly drank coffee actually had a somewhat lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who rarely drank coffee; this result needs to be confirmed in further studies, however. 


  • According to the latest research regarding pregnant women, it seems prudent to reduce coffee consumption to a low level, for example one cup per day.  Caffeine goes through the placenta and reaches the fetus, and the fetus is very sensitive to caffeine; it metabolizes it very slowly. 
  • Even given the fact that coffee is high in antioxidants, drinking too many cups per day may increase the risk of wrinkling the skin since it is dehydrating.  Try drinking water along with your cup'o Joe.
  • Caffeine can contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar which can result in cravings that may cause weight gain.
  • According to Dr. Mark Hyman, habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar.  High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
  • The coffee plant is one of the most heavily sprayed crops -- loaded with pesticides, herbicides and chemicals.  So, stick with organic whenever possible.

After doing my research on the pros and cons of drinking coffee, I have come to the following conclusion..

As with anything in life, listen to your unique body.  Are you overdoing it in terms of cups you're drinking and feeling tense and anxious?  Are you adding in too much milk, cream and/or sugar?  Are you craving food most of the time?  Try making small adjustments -- possibly drinking one less cup of coffee during the day and continue on that road until you can limit the amount of coffee you drink daily.  Limit the amount of sugar over time until you're able to drink your coffee without it.  Cut back on the cream or milk.. or try adding in a little homemade almond milk.  Just remember, as with most addictive substances, caffeine in excess is something to let go of gradually so you can rely on your body's "feel good" hormones to kick in and give you energy.  One cup'o Joe in the morning may just do the trick!