First off Pretty Birds, it’s been too long since we last chatted Food and Wellness. Our quest for the latest health news and scrumptious recipes is forever at the forefront of our minds, but much like many of the missteps we make as we leave the summer months and return to the grind – one too many bombas, two too many glasses of wine – wellness fell to the back of our to-do list during Fashion Month. So, I thought I would get the conversation back on track this week with the evergreen argument of whether or not we should be indulging in our year-round vice: coffee.
Tamu and I both have a very on-again, off-again relationship with our coffees, made much more difficult by residing in the actual mecca of coffee, Italy. Here, coffee is not just a drink to help you survive the day. Coffee is a lifestyle. It is a ritual. And for our friends in the U.S. (but particularly in New York), coffee is sometimes the only thing that keeps them moving through what would otherwise be an impossible day. We are all aware, in this brave new world of green juices and matcha lattees, that coffee is not the most health-conscious of options to put in our bodies. But my burning questions is: can I drink coffee and still claim my title as a Wellness Junkie?
Every day, I convince my body coffee is harming every inch of me and train myself to live without it. Then slowly, after a rough week or facing a crazy deadline, I add one cup of coffee to my regime. In the blink of an eye that one cup mysteriously turns into four a day, and those four cups of coffee reveal themselves in my skin, my sleep, and my lack of mindfulness.
However, recent studies have suggested that coffee does have some benefits, and the latest reports even show that if you are over 45, moderate coffee consumption can result in a reduced risk of mortality. That’s sort of a change of messaging from what we normally hear about this blessed bean. Since the 70’s, coffee was often closely linked to heart disease and cancer, brainwashing us into thinking our cup of joe is a serious no-no. But in 2015, the World Health Organization removed coffee from the list of carcinogens. The American Institute for Cancer even goes so far as to say that it may protect against, rather than cause, certain cancers, including colorectal cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
Beyond that, the more minor side effects we know are caused by excessive coffee consumption are; impaired sleep, jitters, heartburn, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as frequent urination. Coffee can also change your perception of sweetness, which explains a lot about why I always crave that croissant with my morning brew.
But that’s the bean. For some, the culprit of health issues is not the coffee itself but the sugar they add to it. Sugar, without a doubt, wreaks havoc on our bodies, and if you’re a four-cup-a-day kinda girl it’s likely there may be a spoonful in there somewhere, something you may want to reconsider when looking for simple ways to create a more healthful diet. If you’re looking for alternative methods to help the medicine go down, try honey, almond milk, or even cinnamon.
Happily, along with all of this research, what I found most often is that much like my other bffs, chocolate and wine, that daily cappuccino can probably stay in your diet as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Only once your morning joe turns into an after-lunch boost and 5 o clock pick-me-up do we need to stage an intervention. Til then, cheers dears!