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Do You & Coffee need to take a break? Part 1 of 2


Are you in a toxic relationship with coffee? Have you been noticing signs of co-dependency?

Absolutely no judgement here! I am quite partial to a creamy oat latte and I’ve sure had my Lorelai Gilmore phases (here’s looking at you 4-year Health Science degree!). However, every so often we need to take a step back and look at our health and honestly ask... Is coffee hindering or helping it? I’m not here to demonise coffee or tell you to break up and never again make up. In fact, you don’t have to look far to find studies outlining positive outcomes of caffeine in treating depression, improving mood and reducing risk of serious health conditions including liver cirrhosis and heart disease. However, like all good things, moderation is key. If you are noticing yourself unable to open your eyes in the morning until that first sip reaches your lips or if you are reaching for cup number 2 or 3 to just get you through the day, it might be time to step back from the coffee pot and take a little time a part. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, no?


Here are the ins and outs of caffeine that might help you decide if it’s time to put coffee on the back burner... for a short while.


Stimulates cortisol release

Caffeine stimulates our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis which is a pathway that stimulates our adrenals to release cortisol. This is the pathway that is triggered when we are stressed. I could write a whole article on the effects of cortisol on our bodies (and perhaps will at a later date), but some negative actions caused by excess cortisol worth mentioning include hypertension, elevated blood sugar levels, anxiety, fatigue, digestive issues, weight gain and poor cognition.


Disrupts normal circadian rhythms

I’m sure we are well versed on how an afternoon coffee can lead to us to lying in bed counting sheep for hours that night. This is due to our natural afternoon drop in cortisol (designed to help us wind down at night for sleep) being interrupted by caffeine spiking cortisol and throwing off our circadian rhythm.

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