Nutrition consultant with Carlyn Rosenblum, MS, RD has this to say about drinking coffee on an empty stomach in the morning before breakfast.
“There are a few reasons why coffee isn’t great first thing in the morning, especially for women,” says Ms. Rosenblum.
“First, it increases cortisol, which can negatively impact ovulation, weight and hormonal balance.”
The so-called stress hormone which, among other things, helps regulate energy and makes you feel alert fluctuates throughout the day, but is generally high in the morning and low in the evening.
“Drinking caffeine first thing in the morning, when cortisol is high, blunts the hormone’s production and shifts the timing of the cycle,” she explains.
This can cause you to produce cortisol at times when it would normally drop like at night.
“Studies also show that consuming caffeine when cortisol is high can actually cause you to produce more cortisol,” she says. “While the reasoning behind this is not entirely understood, part of the reason could be related to coffee’s impact on certain vitamins and minerals.
“Cortisol is necessary for our health; however, the problem is when we are constantly stressed out, our body is continuously producing cortisol,” Ms. Rosenblum explains. “This can lead to increased blood sugar, which then leads to increased insulin hormone producing, leading to insulin resistance.” Excess cortisol can lead to effects like weight gain, sleep problems and compromised immune response.
“Drinking coffee first thing in the morning can also create gut health issues,” Ms. Rosenblum says.
While study results are mixed on how coffee affects your gut microbiome, 1 recent study suggests it might actually be beneficial, it does stimulate acid production in the stomach. If you are prone to acid reflux or other GI issues, it’s worth paying attention to your symptoms to see if coffee exacerbates them.
Ms. Rosenblum recommends eating a breakfast of calcium-rich foods like yogurt, almonds, spinach, kale or chia seeds, which help neutralize both the acidity of the coffee and your stomach acid. Noting that cold brew has about 70% less acid than hot coffee.
When to drink coffee
If you wake up on a relatively standard schedule, your best bet is to pour yourself a cup after breakfast, between 9:30a. and Noon, a window when your cortisol levels are typically low.
Note: It is tied to activity, so if your “day” starts significantly earlier or later than average, adjust accordingly.
At that point, coffee will actually give you a needed boost, evening out a potential energy slump.
Ms. Rosenblum gives us a few reasons.
One, your coffee habits: If you are accustomed to drinking coffee first thing in the morning, your body may have come to use the caffeine as a crutch and thrown off its natural wake-up mechanisms.
Two, dehydration: You lose water while you sleep, so you might be waking up dehydrated, particularly if you did not drink enough water during the day, and
Three, poor sleep habits: Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep, so if you are falling significantly short, you are going to feel it no matter what. She also notes that sleep quality is as important as quantity, and recommends promoting restful sleep by powering off electronics 60 mins before bed, drinking herbal tea, taking an Epsom salt bath or writing in a gratitude journal before turning in.
“Also, try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.”
And always drink Organic coffee.
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