Whether or not coffee is good for you is an age-old question. A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who drink one cup of coffee each day are 12% less likely than people who don't drink coffee to die from cancer, stroke, diabetes or heart, kidney and respiratory disease. For the study participants, benefits increased the more coffee that was drank. Those who drank three cups of coffee per day were 18% less likely to die from those diseases as well.
However, there is evidence to suggest that coffee can negatively impact women’s estrogen levels, raise blood pressure and trigger more stress hormones. So how do you know if coffee’s right for you and how much is right for you? It all depends on your individual constitution. Most food can either be a poison or a medicine depending on a variety of factors such as individual constitution and when and how you drink coffee.
Here are 5 guidelines to drink coffee Ayurvedically.
1. Know your individual constitution. Different mind-body types react to coffee differently! Coffee can balance out people who have a lot of Kapha in their constitution, for example. If you are Kapha-dominant, consider drinking one cup daily. Coffee’s hot and stimulating qualities can counteract Kapha's heavy and sluggish qualities. People with excess Pitta or Vata in their constitutions should be MUCH more cautious and probably avoid coffee. Drinking coffee as a Pitta or Vata can increase the hot, dry and air qualities, leading to health problems.
2. Avoid coffee if…
You have signs of excess Pitta, such as acid indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux and skin rashes or if you’re often agitated, irritated, hypercritical, judgmental and/or angry.
You have symptoms of excess Vata, such as dry hair, dry skin, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, forgetfulness and restlessness, or if you feel scattered and spacey. Coffee will make these symptoms worse for those types of people.
Follow these rules for your Dosha:
Vata Types: If you’re not experiencing symptoms like the ones listed below, take your coffee very creamy and sweet. It will have a grounding and nourishing effect on your system. Never drink more than one cup a day.
Pitta Types: Sweeten your coffee with maple syrup but skip the cream to counteract the beverage’s acidic qualities. Never drink more than one cup a day.
Kapha Types: Take your coffee black and avoid milk or cream. These can increase congestion and sweeteners can cause weight gain for Kaphas. Drink one cup daily, but not more.
3. Drink coffee before 10:00 am and not after. The healthiest time of day to drink coffee is between 6 am and 10 am, when the “cool, heavy, earthy” qualities of Kapha make us feel slower. Coffee’s heating and stimulating qualities can counterbalance that sluggishness by stimulating the mind Agni.
4. Don't drink too much coffee. A little bit of coffee can be medicinal but overdosing on coffee can deplete the adrenals, dehydrate the body and lead to other unpleasant side effects such as acid reflux or anxiety. Ayurveda doesn’t recommend more than one cup of coffee per day for anyone or any Doshic type. If you're drinking too much, you can decrease your intake by drinking a cup of warm water first, to hydrate your system.
5. Only drink organic coffee. Conventional coffee often contains pesticide residues that can form toxins in the system. Toxins are the first stage in disease.
6. Set up an Ayurvedic morning coffee routine. When you drink coffee on an empty stomach in the morning it increases acidity in your system. The early morning jolt of caffeine can also increase anxiety. Instead of doing drinking coffee on an empty stomach, follow the next three steps.
- Drink a cup of hot water with a few drops of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey 20 minutes before breakfast. This drink will stimulate your digestion so you're ready to eat breakfast.
- Eat a grounding and nourishing breakfast.
- Drink a cup of coffee if you choose prepared according to your Dosha so it can act as a digestive aid.
Observe your health and your digestion so you can answer the question: is coffee hurting me or helping me?
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.