Preparing a cup of black coffee is one of my favourite rituals. I love the aroma and the rich, bitter flavour but I also love the fact that coffee has numerous health benefits (for some people, some times…but I don’t like to get hung up on details all the time!).

There’s a long list of scientific literature supporting the health benefits of drinking coffee including anything from lowering the risk of prostate cancer (source 1) and post-menopausal breast cancer (source 2), to assisting with weight loss (source 3) and even lowering inflammation and benefiting HDL cholesterol (source 4)!

If you’re already overworked, overtired and under far too much stress then as tempting as coffee may be, it’s probably going to make your stress response worse as it may disrupt your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (nerdy talk for the brain/stress axis response). If you’re struggling to get out of bed, you’re needing to hit snooze a few times, and can’t wake up properly until your morning caffeine boost but you’re then crashing mid afternoon this is a good sign that your morning routine needs a shake up!

The other caveat with coffee is that it is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world. In fact, the average acre is treated with over 100kgs of chemical pesticides and fertilisers! The roasting process does seem to remove some of the chemical residue, but certainly not all. For this reason I try to choose organic coffee as much as possible.

So, if you love coffee as much as I do and still want to reap its health benefits then here are the rules I encourage all my patients to follow (sometimes very reluctantly!) when it comes to drinking coffee:

1.Drink between 9:30am – 11:30am – drinking coffee too early interferes with your natural cortisol (hormone) rhythm and can negatively impact energy levels and the stress response

2. Try to choose organic where possible

3. Ditch the sugar and sweeteners – coffee is meant to be rich and bitter!

4. Give yourself a break from coffee every now and then; you’ll notice your energy levels will improve dramatically within 2-3 days

For more information on Dr Andrea and her top-rated, award winning podcast go to www.thewellnesswomen.com.au or find her at her at her practice The Wellness Studio Fremantle www.thewellnesstudio.info..

References:
1. Coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.
2. Coffee and tea consumption and risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study.
3. Effect of chronic coffee consumption on weight gain and glycaemia in a mouse model of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
4.Effects of coffee consumption on subclinical inflammation and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial