By Sierra Morris – Fitlife Foods Regional Wellness Coach, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and M.S. in Kinesiology
For someone who is extremely active and health-focused: training for marathons, working with clients to achieve health goals, traveling for work, and chasing my Aussiedoodle puppy, I am constantly evaluating my food and beverage intake to give me energy and fit my lifestyle. Eating most of my meals at Fitlife helps me fuel to maintain my energy throughout the day, but what about my coffee? Clients often ask me if they have to give up their morning coffee. The short answer: absolutely not! The long answer: it depends…
Coffee, and caffeine in general, actually has some amazing health benefits. If consumed safely (less than 400mg/day)1, caffeine can lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and cancer. This is due to the high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients caffeine contains. Coffee also serves as a source of potassium, miacin, and magnesium.2
Great news right?! Before you roll out of bed to pour your cup – think about when you’re consuming your caffeine.
Cortisol (your primary stress hormone) levels are at a high when you first wake up – which is not a bad thing. Your levels actually peak 30-45 minutes after waking, which means your body is naturally energizing, increasing focus and alertness, regulating your metabolism, blood pressure, and immune system.3
If you reach for your favorite source of caffeine right when you wake up, your cortisol levels spike even higher which can impair your immune system and cause a hormone imbalance. Drinking caffeine first thing in the morning can also be dehydrating if you're not consuming any water beforehand.
So how can you get the most out of your daily caffeine consumption?
- Drink at least 8 oz of water before having any caffeine
- Aim to drink your caffeine about 3-5 hours after waking up
- This is usually when your cortisol levels decrease naturally and you actually need a pick-me-up
- Stop consumption of any caffeine a minimum of 6 hours before you plan to sleep
- Caffeine lasts 3-5 hours and half still remains after 5 hours so this may cause sleep problems
Choosing the best caffeine for you
- Make the switch from coffee to green tea (1/3 the amount of caffeine in coffee)
- Contains many amino acids, which can be relaxing and calming
- Drink your coffee black in order to gain the most nutritional benefits
- If you need to add milk, grab non-fat milk to cut down the fat and calorie content
- Limit added sugar or syrups
- Understand how much sugar you are consuming with every cup
- Look at the nutrition label or ask your barista
- Try to add one less packet of sugar than usual
- Ask for one or two less pumps of syrup than usual if ordering your coffee out
- Skip the whipped cream, sprinkles, and other toppings
- Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg instead
- If you enjoy more than one serving of caffeine, develop an awareness of how much caffeine you are consuming
- See chart below and track how many mg of caffeine you consume daily
Be well. Make good choices. And if you need to, caffeinate to great!
To learn more speak to a wellness coach today!
- Mayo Clinic (2022, March 19). Caffeine: How much is too much? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
- Klemm, S. (2020, September 29). Benefits of coffee. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/benefits-of-coffee
- Hoyt, L. T., Zeiders, K. H., Ehrlich, K. B., & Adam, E. K. (2016). Positive upshots of cortisol in everyday life. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 16(4), 431–435. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000174