Written by Vilita Cruz
To me coffee is a warm hug and a soothing voice telling me, “you got this!” I grew up with my grandparents serving Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk) for breakfast. No surprise, I became a habitual coffee drinker. So let’s talk about coffee and how it may be affecting you.
Everyone responds differently to coffee. If you drink coffee on a daily basis, like yours truly, coffee is comforting. Sure it helps wake me up and gives me the power to be civil to people before sunrise, but you won’t see a habitual coffee drinker bouncing off the walls. Our blood type is coffee, and at this point we are those strange folks who can drink it in the evening and still go to sleep without an issue.
I take my coffee black, though sometimes I add cinnamon (well known for its anti-inflammatory properties). In case any of you are watching what you eat/drink and are counting calories or are experimenting with an intermittent fasting protocol, the good news is coffee is safe to add to your meal plan. One 8 ounce cup of black coffee comes in at about 5 calories and contains 95 mg of caffeine. Now don’t think this is a pass to order a Venti double shot Macchiato with whip as those complicated orders are full of sugar, fat, and 1000 plus calories per serving!!! At that point, you are sabotaging your caloric intake, not to mention fueling your body’s fat deposits. If you are watching the calories but can’t bring yourself to take your coffee black, there is a middle ground. Try adding nonfat/skim milk or any non-dairy creamer to the mix, as well as a sugar alternative for sweetness. Depending on what you add to your coffee, you are looking at roughly 120-450 calories per 8 ounce cup.
As much as I like to sing the praises of this concoction formulated from magic beans, coffee is very acidic. Add exercise into the mix and you could be looking at acid reflux. That burning sensation you feel in the esophagus is not fun. To avoid discomfort, be vigilant in drinking your coffee at least 60-90 minutes prior to your workout. If you suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), you will want to avoid coffee altogether, or at least look for a low acidic coffee.
Cognitive and physical function are some of the positive effects of drinking coffee. And if you can believe it, your muscles can benefit, as coffee enhances glycogen recovery and is safe to have pre-or post-workout. For a more personal and deeper understanding of how to incorporate coffee into your diet and workout, contact our nutritional therapy practitioner Meaghan MacLean here at Austin Simply Fit for a FREE consultation.
Now for those on the other end of the spectrum — non habitual coffee drinkers. These are the individuals who drink on occasion when they really need some pep in their step. More often they don’t even like the taste of coffee (gasp!). If you fall into this category, you will want to be mindful of the quantity of caffeine intake and timing. Those sensitive to caffeine will sense an increase in heart rate as well as a flush or warmth in their body. In addition, they will get that much desired boost of energy.
If you suffer from a heart condition or anxiety, you may want to pass on the coffee or choose an option with low caffeine such as decaf coffee (2 mg of caffeine in an 8 ounce cup). If you are a healthy adult who rarely drinks coffee but is in need of a boost, you can opt for an espresso, which contains 64 mg in a shot. Make sure to drink coffee before 3 pm to avoid disruption in your circadian rhythm and ability to sleep. Keep in mind that cold brew coffee is the strongest form of coffee. The cold brew process requires the coffee to be steeped for hours, making it more concentrated than a brewed pot of hot coffee.
Hope this has been a helpful mini guide to the world of coffee. Should you see me and Whiskey (my dog) out at a coffee house, please feel free to introduce yourself. If you bring over a cup of coffee for me and a puppuccino for Whiskey, we will likely end up friends for life =)