So where should a person fall on the coffee spectrum? Like everything else in the nutrition realm the answer is neither black or white but rather a little half and half.
1. Coffee Can Boost Your Energy.
It just so happens that both dopamine and norepinephrine are stimulated resulting in increased neurons firing boosting your energy...and your brain power.
2. Coffee Can Increase Physical Performance.
3. It Is Loaded With Antioxidants.
4. Coffee Can Help Burn Fat.
5. It May Lower Your Risk of Parkinson's, Alzheimers, and Some Cancers.
6. Coffee Tastes Delicious.
7. It May Just Help You Live Longer.
Now here is where coffee drinking becomes walking a fine line. Virtually all of the benefits associated with coffee consumption comes from the caffeine, decaf doesn't offer the same benefits. Unfortunately everybody will metabolize caffeine a little differently.
Let me get a little sciency for just one second...
Caffeine is metabolized by an enzyme called CYP1A2. This enzyme is responsible for both the breakdown and elimination of caffeine from your body.
Every single person has a varying level of this enzyme present in their system and thus every single person will have a different response to the caffeine found in coffee.
Certain individuals will be hypersensitive meaning that even a small does (~100 mg) of caffeine my bring on insomnia, jitters, irritability, and an increased heart rate. Others will be hyposensitive meaning they can consume large doses (>500mg) of coffee or even consume coffee before bed and have no issues whatsoever.
Most of us fall somewhere in between. Consuming ~200-400mg of caffeine will not cause any issues but start to go over that and various problems may rear their ugly head.
What this means is that the majority of people can safely consume 2-3 cups of regular brewed, not Tim Hortons or Starbucks caffeine infused craziness coffee, without any negative symptoms associated with the caffeine.
So find where you fall on the caffeine spectrum. Learn how many cups of coffee you can drink per day without experiencing the negative side effects associated with caffeine, which for the most part is decreased sleep.
If you can drink 5 cups of coffee each day without jitters and still have a restful sleep, it is perfectly healthy to do so. Conversely if you find that drinking one cup of coffee keeps you up at night you unfortunately need to kick caffeine to the curb.
If you fall into the latter category but still enjoy decaf make sure you are sourcing swiss water decaf coffee. This process uses a natural technique to rid coffee of most of the caffeine. Non swiss water decaf uses a lot of chemicals.
Coffee may truly be one of the healthiest drinks in the world...if you can tolerate it!
One more thing, I personally believe that if you eat or drink something on a regular basis, like coffee, you should source the healthiest variety possible. So if you are a regular coffee drinker like myself aim for organic, free trade, sustainable coffee. Folgers or Maxwells just doesn't make the cut.
Live Your Best Life!