Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee and 10 Reasons You Should Too
Four years ago, I woke up one day with very bad chest pains. I even needed assistance getting out of bed. I tried deep breathing exercises and I tried taking antacids and nothing provided relief. Every breath I took felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, stealing my oxygen. Fast forward to two doctors visits, countless over-the-counter medications and an invasive endoscopy, and I found out that I had stomach ulcers and acid reflux and would need to go on a “bland diet” to help my body heal. I had to cut many foods and beverages from my life, including anything spicy, acidic or practically anything that had flavor. This included anything with a red sauce (goodbye pizza and spaghetti), spice (no more salsa or taco Tuesdays) and highly-acidic coffee.
Coffee is a morning staple in most homes across the U.S. and many parts of the world. I worked in corporate America and drank at least four or five cups of coffee a day. Come to think of it, I was a coffee addict. Cutting coffee during the weekend was easy. Cutting coffee during a workday was killer. How was I supposed to make it through my day or even an 8am meeting without my beloved cup of joe? Well, I did and now several years later, I don’t even miss it.
And guess, what? My ulcers are now healed and I’m back to eating tomato sauce and even spicy foods. Even though I probably could drink coffee, I made a conscious decision to ditch the joe for good. And you should too!
Here are 10 reasons why you should stop drinking coffee:
1. Gut Health
Coffee is a highly-acidic irritant that creates a welcome environment for bacteria (specifically those that cause ulcers) to access your stomach lining and cause harm. The acid in coffee also creates an imbalance in your gut which makes it harder for you to absorb nutrients. If you cut out coffee and other high-acid foods, you will have a healthier stomach. At the very least, never drink coffee on an empty stomach as the high acid content eats away at your stomach lining.
Many people are addicted to coffee, just as you would alcohol or recreational drugs. Some even have physical manifestations such as headaches when they go too long without java. Headaches, irritability and anxiousness are signs of your body going through withdrawal. Don’t think you are addicted? Skip coffee for one morning, one day, one week and see if you are craving it or imagining lattes with extra froth in your dreams.
We all know that drinking coffee has significant energy-boosting benefits. It can help you wake up in the morning and face the day, but once it wears off, you get low, low, low. As your body digests coffee and any caffeine for that matter, you will feel a decrease in energy, thus triggering the need for more coffee. When you skip coffee and all caffeinated beverages, you will not have energy highs and lows; your body will learn to maintain a natural steady flow of energy. Without coffee, you will learn to listen to your body’s natural clock, sleep when your body is tired, and feel energized throughout your day.
At the very least, never drink coffee on an empty stomach as the high acid content eats away at your stomach lining.
Even if you drink just one cup of coffee in the morning, coffee increases insomnia, disrupting your sleep and leaving you feeling tired the next morning. It also causes your body to release extra cortisol, which when combined with sugar, causes your insulin to rise. Then, when your blood sugar inevitably crashes, you will crave sugar and carbs. The only way to reset your body is a good night’s sleep. Then the next day, you start this cycle all over again . . . waking up tired and groggy from a poor night’s sleep with the need for more coffee.
Coffee is known to cause heartburn and acid reflux by causing the muscles in your esophagus to relax and allowing acid to creep into your chest. If you have ever experienced heartburn, you know that it is uncomfortable, and no food or drink is worth that displeasure.
Some people turn to coffee to get things churning in their digestive systems. However, this is not your body’s natural process. Coffee actually stimulates your body to eliminate before it had a chance to fully digest food, causing you to absorb less nutrients from food. The laxative properties of coffee are not good for your health, and you are better off eating more fiber or prunes to maintain regularity.
Coffee is a diuretic, and in large doses it can cause your kidneys to flush more frequently, sending you to the bathroom more often. This frequent urination leads to a loss of minerals and other key nutrients as well as dehydration. You might even mistake this dehydration for hunger, which can cause you to eat more and gain weight.
Coffee increases your cortisol and other stress hormone levels that increase your blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline. When your body feels stressed, it negatively impacts your digestion and can cause digestive upset, including flatulence, bloating and indigestion.
9. Mineral Absorption
Coffee negatively affects your kidneys’ ability to absorb key nutrients and minerals, including zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium.
For women in particular, coffee affects your hormones and can contribute to menstrual problems, infertility, low sex drive, moodiness, low energy, weight issues, and even growths in your ovaries and breasts.
While you may believe that you cannot survive without coffee, trust me, you can. Coffee is just another beverage, and you can cut it out just like anything else. There might be a slight adjustment period as you wean off of coffee or go cold turkey. But depending on your level of dependency and your willpower, after a week or two, you will feel better, more balanced and have more energy than you ever thought possible, without a stimulant or caffeinated beverage.
This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult your doctor for any health-related questions or concerns.