What drinking coffee really does to your body

Sarah Carty

There’s nothing quite as satisfying first thing in the morning as sipping on a hot cup of coffee - but is caffeine really as bad for our bodies as we’ve all heard?

For years now, we’ve all been told to limit our caffeine intake and put down that milky mug of goodness in favour of herbal teas.

Be spoke with nutritionists Zoe Bingley Pullin and Jessica Sepel, to find out what actually happens to your body when you consume coffee on a daily basis.

Lauren Conrad knows the struggle of starting each morning without a coffee. Photo: Instagram/Lauren Conrad

“The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant and too much can wreak havoc on the central nervous system and adrenals,” clinical nutritionist and bestselling health author Jessica told Be.

“Everyone will have a different level of tolerance, some will have low tolerance and even one coffee per day can cause their body stress and raised cortisol (our fight or flight hormone).

“Others can handle one or two without negative effects.”

Likewise, Zoe Bingley Pullins claims coffee affects everyone differently depending on how sensitive they are to caffeine.

“Positive effects of caffeine include improved energy and concentration, enhanced physical performance, source of antioxidants and also the ritual of coffee can be a very enjoyable experience for many,” the founder of Nutritional Edge told Be.

Reece Witherspoon loves an iced coffee. Photo: Instagram/Reece Witherspoon

“Some short-term negative effects include dehydration, frequent urination, upset stomach, anxiety, raised blood pressure and disruption to blood sugar.”

If you’re looking to decrease how much caffeine you intake per day, Jessica recommends only have one a day and consuming that cup of coffee before 10am.

“Firstly, cut back to one a day before 10am, and then replace that coffee with a green tea, black tea, chai tea,” she said.

“If your body isn't good on coffee, stick to herbal teas and caffeine-free teas, like roasted dandelion.” 

Jessica said it’s usually the ritual of holding a hot cup of coffee that people are actually addicted to.

“So, keep that routine in place to help you break the coffee addiction,” Jessica said.

“Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest (8 hours sleep, minimum!), that will make it easier to not rely on coffee to get you through the day.” 

Taylor Swift is us on a Monday morning. Photo: Instagram/Taylor Swift

Zoe said that the best way for some people to give up coffee is to go completely cold turkey while others will need to wean themselves off it day by day.

“Start by lowering the number of shots in your coffee, for example if you are having two double shot coffees daily, make your second a single shot and reduce gradually,” Zoe said.

“Make sure you maintain hydration and a nutritious diet in the process as this will assist with concentration and energy.”

She also recommends taking a Vitamin C powder to replace coffee, which might also ‘support the adrenal glands through the process’.

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