It’s one of the most prevalent addictions in the western world and yet very few people talk about it.
Coffee is a great American past time and has spawned a whole industry of casual coffee houses with premium blends and pricey offerings. But the main engine driving America’s love affair with the coffee bean is the potent shot of caffeine it provides. But what about the health consequences of a coffee addiction?
We live in a culture that’s all about production and performance, leaving many of us to seek out artificial means of boosting our energy levels and productivity. Caffeine is a stimulant that certainly does the trick, but at a cost. Caffeine raises the body’s level of the stress hormone cortisol which affects our natural fight-or-flight response and keeps our nervous on edge. Too much of this level of hyper-alertness has a tendency to wear down our nerves and produce a compounding fatigue on the body.
Over-caffeination produces the jitters, teeth-grinding, and restlessness from all the excess cortisol coursing through the body. Of course there is also the infamous caffeine crash that follows when the body goes into a rest and recovery mode. Caffeine withdrawal brings on anxiety and irritability, which we joke about in the morning but is actually creating a vicious addictive cycle of highs and lows.
A somewhat hidden side effect of caffeine addiction is the spike in blood sugar that it produces, which causes the body to course correct with too much insulin, followed by the blood sugar crash toward the end of the day. Diabetics with a coffee addiction will have a much more difficult time controlling their blood sugar.
Caffeine also decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium, a key component of healthy bone development. This low bone density can lead to conditions like Osteoporosis later in life.
All that caffeine and cortisol coursing through your body all day primes you for a low quality of sleep which can lead to ongoing insomnia. A lack of sleep has its own range of health problems and difficulties.Caffeine and coffee may be a great pick-me-up on a bad day but take caution when engaging in an ongoing habit of daily coffee intake because the side effects of this addiction can have long-lasting consequences.
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