Most people turn to coffee when they need to get going in the morning or keep themselves awake until the mid afternoon. Although drinking coffee does have some benefits, it is important that we understand what the caffeine does to our adrenals and what we can do about it.
The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys. Each of us has two and they are composed of three different parts – the capsule, the cortex, and the medulla. Our adrenals may be small in size but are actually very powerful. They are responsible for the production of hormones and chemicals such as cortisol, the stress hormone and aldosterone, the hormone that controls blood pressure.
These hormones are essential to our health and vitality. And due to our adrenal glands, our body is able to deal with stress brought about by our work, our relationship and our environment. When we experience stress, our adrenals release hormones that trigger our fight-or-flight response, preparing our body for action.
Coffee and the Adrenals
Coffee is a stimulant. It can improve one’s wakefulness and alertness especially if you lack sleep. However, being a stimulant, coffee also triggers the adrenal glands to respond even if there is the absence of stress. When cortisol is released, your heart rate and blood pressure are elevated. When this happens consistently, your adrenals could develop resistance to stress.
Consuming excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages every day can lead to long-term fatigue due to the nervous system being in constant overdrive. When overused, this can lead to adrenal failure.
High levels of cortisol can also have a negative effect on your overall health. It is linked to overeating and reduced metabolism rate. Some may experience a disruption in their sleep cycle, therefore, causing them to lose quality sleep which is essential for body repair. This also affects skin health as it could lead to premature aging and wrinkles.
But not to worry, you do have several healthy coffee alternatives that will help keep your energy levels up so you can get through your busy day.
Eating an apple is probably the most basic. Apples contain natural sugar and vitamins that can keep you awake. The best part is, you won’t experience the mood swings or sugar crashes.
Substituting coffee with tea is another option. Green tea, for instance, contains antioxidants and it can boost your immune system. It can also help in reducing stress.
Or you could try drinking hot water with freshly squeezed lemon. This keeps you surprisingly awake for a few hours and in my opinion, works just as good as coffee.
When you do find yourself dehydrated, drink a glass of water instead of reaching for any caffeinated soda. It helps regulate your temperature. It aids in digestion and several other bodily functions and nothing can be healthier than that.
Eliminating coffee in our diet is a great way for us to take care of our adrenals. We should also be looking at our lifestyle because the truth is, stress is a big factor. Stress can result in a lack of sleep causing us to feel tired and the urge for coffee increases.
This cycle will just get worse unless you do something about it. You can start by identifying the stressors around you and learn how to deal with them. Exercise and / or meditation can clear your mind of things that bother you. Your mindset helps. And of course, make sure that you eat the right foods that will nourish your body so that it can better deal with stress and sleep disturbances.
Read This Next: The Benefits of Choosing Bird Friendly Coffee