Monday morning, 6am, you just stumbled out of bed, into the shower, bypassed your ten minute meditation to get the steaming mug of java faster, because you just cannot get your eyes open without the dark-bitter jolt of straight up caffeine. No fault in that, 54% of all North Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee everyday, 68% of these coffee lovers have their first cuppa joe within the first hour after waking up.
I will admit openly that I enjoy coffee just as much as the other 100 million plus coffee drinkers around the world, I like mine black, no sugar, on an empty stomach, after my shower, yoga and meditation practice in the morning.
I’m a statistical oddity since coffee doesn’t give me a jolt, energy, or the caffeine jitters, but mellows me out. Yes, this is possible though not overly common.
Coffee – Friend Or Foe?
Some interesting research on coffee in relation to exercise has been done on the Mercola website:
“Coffee, when consumed in the right way, can in fact be used as a health and fitness enhancing tool In one recent study, athletes who consumed caffeine pre-exercise burned 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to the control group.
Other functional benefits of a pre-workout cup of coffee include improved microcirculation, pain reduction, improved endurance, muscle preservation, and improved memory.
When used before exercise, coffee will give you a good boost, and will work to optimize the benefits of exercise; stimulating energy production and fat burning.
Taken after exercise, coffee is more likely to inhibit recuperation and rather continue mimicking the effects of exercise on your body.
If you exercise in the evening, you may want to skip the pre-workout cup of coffee however, as it can disrupt your sleep cycle by keeping you alert well into the night.
Let’s look at how Coffee effects the three Ayurvedic Doshas:
The type dealing the best with coffee is with no doubt Kapha Dosha. Coffee’ s nature is bitter, drying, and acidic. The drying and bitter quality is what makes it beneficial for the Kapha type to have a cup in the morning, maybe even two throughout the day.
Bitter and dry reduce the heavy and tendencies in the Kapha type and can help clear mental and physical sluggishness.
Coffee being a natural stimulant may prove to be useful in breaking through the slowness in this type and through the aversion to exercise and movement in general.
Kapha will likely benefit from a cup of coffee before their workout.
Vata should stay away from coffee. It’s not only the caffeine that can mess with this types already variable energy and fragile adrenal system, but also coffees bitter and dry qualities, which are both highly Vata aggravating.
In this type coffee can cause hyper-activity, anxiety, sudden bursts of energy followed by equally sudden crashes, burn-out, and sleepless-ness. Coffee may stress both body and mind in this type.
Pitta should take coffee in moderation and not over consume. Coffees acidic quality can hurt Pitta and cause symptoms related to Pittas already aggravated tendencies, inflammatory conditions, elevated acidic blood Ph levels, stomach ulcers, heart burn, aggravated moods, hypertension, rising temper and elevated mental stress and reactive-ness.
After reading this you may feel different about your morning java. Or you may not. I’m not suggesting you should cut it out completely, simply that you may consider your own Dosha and make a decision based on it.
If you are a Vata person and find that two hours after your double espresso you feel anxious and flighty, you may decide to cut back a little. Maybe have a decaf instead or type of coffee with less of a caffeine load.
There are fabulous coffee alternatives. Of course a strong tea may do the trick or a delicious chai latte. You may also decide to go cold turkey and opt for a coffee substitute. Maharishi Ayurveda offer Raja’s Cup to that effect, an Ayurvedic herbal alternative to coffee that gives you energy without busting your adrenal system.
A trick to help with the negative effects of coffee is to add a pinch of Cardamom to your brew.
But realistically only you can know what and how much coffee is safe, beneficial, or harmful to you.
If after reading this article you feel like cutting back on your coffee consumption you will enjoy Lucas Rockwoods article and video on “Quitting Coffee For Good”!
Let your body, and mind, be your best judge!
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