7 Reasons to Decrease Coffee Consumption

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There is honestly nothing more tempting then that beautiful aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Or, after finishing a delicious dinner sipping on the perfect little cappuccino. Coffee makes us feel happy, warm and energized, and some people swear that it has health benefits. However, coffee is not for everyone nor should it be consumed in excess. Additionally, many people add lots of dairy products and sugar to their daily cup of coffee. This adds calories and is difficult for the digestion. I have seen many patients that are drinking way too much caffeine and experience enormous health benefits once they cut out or slow down on the java.

Please read on for 7 reasons why I believe coffee should be enjoyed in moderation (or not at all for some)

  1. Coffee increases catecholamines, hormones released in response to STRESS.  The stress response increases cortisol and insulin.  This response can increase inflammation thereby making you feel tired.
  2. Coffee consumption has been associated with increased PMS!! Many woman also crave coffee close to their menses, but try and hold off- it may improve cramps, breast tenderness and irritability.
  3. It may impact your CHOLESTEROL levels. Some research has linked drinking unfiltered coffee to an increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Unfiltered coffee has high amount of diterpenes. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels. All things you do not want to be high in your body!
  4. Coffee is not great for DIGESTION. The acidity of coffee is associated with indigestion, heart burn, GERD and changes in beneficial gut flora.
  5. Due to the impact coffee has on the digestive system, coffee may also inhibit the absorption of key nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.
  6. Drinking caffeine throughout the day may impact your SLEEP. This sounds pretty basic, but if you are having trouble sleeping at night cut out the caffeine (and switch to green tea) or limit yourself to ONE CUP BEFORE 11am. Do this for at least one month.
  7. Coffee can interfere with normal DRUG METABOLISM. Constituents in coffee can interfere with metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.  Additionally coffee can interfere with absorption of certain medications such as thyroid and tricyclic antidepressant medications.

 

Many people have withdrawal from coffee, and this can last for up to a month. Try replacing coffee with green tea, herbal teas or coffee substitutes containing roasted grains (found at whole foods or other health food stores). I find that steeping a cup of Rooibos tea and adding in some almond milk or rice milk can give me some of the satisfaction coffee does. Again, some people tolerate caffeine better than others, however I would recommend making coffee more of a treat than a necessity.

In Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

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Healthy Heart: Tips for Healthy Cholesterol

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Cardiovascular Disease is a class of diseases that involves the heart or blood vessels.  Two of the most common causes of cardiovascular diseases are atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and hypertension (high blood pressure).  In this article I will focus primarily on ways to prevent atherosclerosis, however many of these diet and lifestyle tips will also encourage healthy blood pressure levels.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is most commonly due to fatty materials such as CHOLESTEROL. Cholesterol, a fat like substance, is important in many bodily functions, however having too much cholesterol can lead to many adverse effects.  There are two main types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL).  LDL cholesterol is known as “bad cholesterol” as too much of it can build up in your arteries, narrowing blood flow to the brain and heart, and therefore INCREASING your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  HDL is known as “good cholesterol” as it may aid in preventing LDL from sticking to your artery walls, helping to DECREASE your risk of heart attack and stroke.  The ratio between LDL and HDL cholesterol is very important, and it is best to aim for low LDL and high HDL.  Total Cholesterol (TC) is your LDL + HDL + triglycerides (fat).  Total cholesterol levels should be under 200mg/dl.

There are many factors that affect high cholesterol, including genetics.  We cannot change our genes but we can modify diet and lifestyle to encourage a positive cholesterol ratio, lower total cholesterol levels and decrease our risk of heart attack or stroke.

Listed below is some dietary advice that can significantly benefit your lipid profile!

What to Avoid

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Saturated Fats and Trans Fats: High total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol is linked with a diet of saturated fats and trans fatty acids.  Saturated Fats come from animal fats, fatty cuts of red meats, high fat dairy such as cheese, ice cream and 2% or higher milk. Trans Fats are found in margarines, fried foods and commercially baked goods such as donuts, cookies and cakes.  Also, packed freezer foods such as microwave dinners, pop tarts and frozen pizza products often contain high amounts of trans fats. As a general rule, it is best to avoid processed and packaged foods.

What to Eat

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1. Fish: Consumption of fish has been shown to produce favorable effects on the lipid profile. It is best if fish is consumed twice a week, and is most beneficial if eaten baked or broiled. Frying fish decreases the amounts of healthy oils found in fish that are so very advantageous to your health.

2. Raw Almonds and Walnuts:  Eating 84g/day of almonds or 68g/day of walnuts has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Interestingly enough, eating nuts frequently is shown to reduce heart disease by 30-50%.

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3. Olive Oil: Can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, encouraging a desirable lipid profile.  It is advised to eat olive oil uncooked, by adding on top of salads, soups or breads as frying olive oil changes the chemical structure and reduces its healthy properties.

4. Coconut Oil: This oil is high in saturated fats, HOWEVER, new research is emerging showing that coconut oil may in fact decrease LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Of added benefit, some research is beginning to show that a diet high in coconut may improve cognitive function.

5. DO NOT OVER EAT! Having more weight on your body significantly increases your chances of heart disease.

Sources

1. JF, Anand SX, Valdiviezo C, et al. Update in atherothrombotic disease. Mt Sinai J Med 2004;71:197-208

2. Bucher HC, Hengstler P, Schindler C, et al. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in coronary artery disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med 2002;112:298-304.

3. . Abby M, Noakes M, Belling GB, Nestel PJ. Partial replacement of saturated fats with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:995-99.

4. . Fraser GE. Nut Consumption, lipids and risk of a coronary event. Clin Cardiol 1999;22 (7Suppl):III 1-III15.

5.  Cullinen K. Olive oil in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Med Health R I 2006;89:113.

6. Freeman LR, Haley-Zitlin V, Stevens Granholm AC. Diet-induced effects on uronal and glial elements in the middle-aged rat hippocampus. Nutr Neurosc,vol.14, no.1, pp.32-44, 2011.

7. Granholm AC, Bimonte-Nelson HA, Moore, AB, Nelson ME, Freeman LR, Sambamurti K. Effects of a saturated fat and high cholesterol diet on memory and hippocampal morphology in the middle-aged rat. J Alzheimers Dis, vol.14, no.2, pp.133–45, 2008

8.Nevin, K, and Rajamohan T. Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. Clinical Biochemistry, Volume 37, Issue 9, September 2004, Pages 830–835. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2004.04.010

9. L, Villareal DT, Weiss EP, et al. Calorie restriction or exercise: effects on coronary heart disease risk factors. A randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2007;293:E197-202.

10.. Prousky, Jonathan, ND. “Hypercholesteremia” In: Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition. Pp68-74, 2008 CCNM Press: Toronto

Photos Courtesy of:

FreedigitalPhotos.net: Human Heart with stethoscope by dream designs

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FreedDigitalPhotos.net:Selection of Cakes by Grant Cochrane

FreedDigitalPhotos.net:Bottle of Olive Oil with Olives by m_bartosch