Coffee and Alcohol: Drink Up But Drink Smart
Oh no – not doom and gloom on two such commonly ingested beverages! No worries. Just a few notable notes so you can make informed decisions on both your coffee and alcohol consumption. In moderation, coffee and alcohol cannot harm you. That is unless you have a sensitivity or health concern specifically harmed by either.
Coffee Consumption: The Good News
Drink coffee made from coffee beans that are organically grown, properly harvested, stored, and roasted. Drinking coffee in moderation may have some beneficial properties. For type 2 diabetics, reviews of 9 studies of coffee and diabetes by two show that drinking coffee may be the best counter to your sweet tooth. Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
In short, experts consider moderate consumption to be up to 300mg daily. That would be the amount contained in 2 to 3 cups of coffee or five to six cans of caffeine containing soft drinks.
Pesticides. They’re the main problem in coffee consumed in North America. Much of the coffee is actually grown in 3rd world countries where they use toxins such as DDT. Coffee arabica tends to be from Central or South America while coffee robusta from Indonesia or Africa. To be free of such toxins, look for organic coffee.
Those white paper filters used to make your coffee could be a culprit in the negative effects. Numerous studies confirm the existence of dioxin residues in bleached paper coffee filters. Dioxin can suppress the immune system, decrease vitamins A, D and K levels and cause bleeding in babies. Some research suggests dioxin can harm the thyroid hormone regulatory system in addition to having carcinogenic potential. Going with the tan-colored, natural paper filters is a good idea.
This is a conundrum. People who are sensitive to caffeine in regular coffee will turn to decaf to help themselves – but then are exposed to the various chemicals used in the process of decaffeinating. Those chemicals may include:
- Ethyl acetate.
- Methylene chloride.
There is an alternative: Swiss water-processed decaffeinated coffee. More research is needed on the effects of the above chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee. Just to be on the safe side and to avoid consuming the potentially harmful substances, give the Swiss water processed decaffeinated coffee a try. Especially if you need to avoid caffeine. There are many brands available – just do a quick Bing or Yahoo! search to find options.
What Happens When We Drink Alcohol?
First, your liver has to process alcohol. While busy with this task your liver’s ability to perform up to 500 other functions can be reduced. Second, when you drink alcohol to excess, as in binge drinking, your liver starts to store the excess alcohol. Too much of this behavior can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis.
Alcohol decreases your body’s ability to detoxify and inhibits white blood cells, which can negatively affect your immune system. Research also shows links to cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver and breast from excessive alcohol consumption. According to Cancer.org (PDF):
The way alcohol causes cancer is not completely understood. It could be that alcohol itself causes cancer by increasing hormone levels or it may be carcinogenic because of the way it is metabolized, which can make cells more vulnerable to other carcinogens.
You don’t have to be an alcohol or health expert to understand it’s absolutely best to avoid alcohol in excess.
There you have it. Two of our favorite beverages – coffee and alcohol – can be safely drunk in moderation. In excess, we may have some health problems to contend with. Coffee and alcohol. Drink up, but drink smart.
As in most things in life, just make those smart, informed choices and practice moderation.