Sometimes we need an extra kick to start our morning or push us through a busy day, and caffeine is a quick and easy solution. What is the first thing many of us do in the morning? We reach for a hot cup of coffee. While it may help jumpstart our day, caffeinated drinks, or rather the sweeteners we put into them, may also contribute to a serious physical issue that we’d like to avoid: inflammation.
WHAT DOES CAFFEINE DO TO THE BODY?
Caffeine causes several responses in the body. Caffeine acts upon the central nervous system (CNS) to deliver stimulation to the brain. It is technically a methylxanthine. This is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. You may feel the quintessential jitters that come with getting a coffee buzz, or you may feel a spike in your focus or alertness.
There are specific ways that caffeine exerts its effects. In scientific terms, it antagonizes the adenosine receptors, mobilizes calcium from intracellular storage, and inhibits phosphodiesterases.
For some, drinking caffeine may have mood-boosting capabilities that have even been linked to lessening symptoms of depression. Those sound like some pretty excellent benefits but don’t start drinking caffeine as your primary hydration source. Caffeine can act as a diuretic and increase the amount of urine produced.
Caffeine can also come with some pretty hefty withdrawal symptoms when unavailable, causing the mind and body to feel sleepy, anxious, nauseous, and increasingly irritable. However, caffeine withdrawal is usually short-lived, and there are no significant chronic adverse events.
Everyone experiences the ups and downs of drinking caffeine in varying intensities, so notice how your body responds to caffeine and limit your consumption accordingly.
Coffee and caffeinated teas, like green tea, are fantastic sources for a caffeine-kick. Many sources of caffeine, like coffee and tea, also provide a great source of antioxidant phytochemicals. The caffeine from natural sources is usually associated with other phytochemicals and nutrients that are quite beneficial. Powdered caffeine produced in a factory setting and added to an energy drink is another matter. Try to avoid processed sodas or energy drinks as your primary source of caffeine.
DOES COFFEE CONTRIBUTE TO INFLAMMATION?
In short, no.
Coffee is packed with caffeine and other active compounds, but if decaffeinated, it contains almost no caffeine, as its name implies. The decaffeination process causes the loss of other nutrients, too. Coffee has typically strong antioxidant capabilities that can aid in fighting inflammation! Coffee and tea drinking are associated with improved cognition due to the beneficial effects on neuroinflammation.
Caffeine itself is not an inflammatory substance, but that doesn’t mean that the other ingredients in your coffee, tea, or soft drink are anti-inflammatory as well. Caffeinated drinks in and of themselves are not too inflammatory, but what we add to them for sweetness and flavor is.
We add sweeteners because caffeine is a naturally bitter substance found in more than 60 plants.
When drinking caffeinated beverages, like coffees and teas, it is essential to know the sugar content. Soft drinks, for example, are traditionally packed with sweeteners. Sugars are notorious for spiking inflammation levels in the body.
Keep the sweetener light, or better yet, choose unsweetened varieties. When choosing to add a sweetener, try to pick a natural one such as honey or agave.
When adding sugars, be aware of whether you have other health conditions that may also increase your risk of inflammation. Cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, and Chrohn’s disease are examples of chronic inflammatory health issues. That being said, adding a natural sweetener to a high antioxidant drink like green tea is not necessarily a bad thing.
One thing that should be avoided when drinking coffee and tea is the chemical, processed ‘creamers.’ These are made in factories from various chemical constituents and comprise a large inflammation source. If you need a creamer, it is far better to add natural cream or half-and-half in terms of inflammatory capacity.
HOW CAN I FIGHT INFLAMMATION?
At The Healing Sole, we know that inflammation can lead to pain and tissue degeneration, and these can dramatically affect your quality of life. That’s why we believe in providing the body with the tools it needs to fight pain and inflammation to increase your wellness.
At The Healing Sole, we carry pain-fighting footwear designed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Meredith Warner. Our best-selling flip flops and sandals offer you active, on-the-go relief from foot pain that relieves pain and stress while also strengthening the feet and legs’ muscles. We don’t just stop there – we also carry products from Well Theory, Dr. Warner’s line of wellness products formulated with high-quality, natural ingredients to fill nutritional gaps, alleviate pain and inflammation, and keep your system functioning optimally.
From our Tart Cherry Extract Supplements to our Essential Multivitamin with PEA and our Herbal Immunity Defense Supplements, just to name a few, you can find the best combination of supplements to strengthen your system and keep inflammation levels low. Order today!