Studio 42 Workspaces • November 30, 2018
The alarm clock rings and you peel open your eyelids to greet another day. If you’re like 75% of Australians, you’re about to reach for a warm cup of joe to start the day, following the Instagram mantra – “But first, coffee.”
There’s a lot to love about our favourite morning beverage. According to meta-analysis of 127 studies, drinking coffee:
- May reduce your risk of cancer up to 20%
- May reduce your risk of heart disease by 5%
- May reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 30%; and
- May reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease by 30%
Coffee consumption has also been linked to living longer, lower risk of death and helping with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
On the other hand, we’ve all heard the messages that coffee can be bad for our health, particularly where it is tied to increasing cortisol (the stress hormone) and the problems associated with elevated levels over an extended period of time. Namely our body starting to “burn out” if our cortisol levels have been too high for too long – not something any of us want!
How can something so delicious be claimed to be so good and simultaneously so bad? Firstly, scientists are still trying to get to the bottom of it as coffee is said to contain a “cocktail of chemicals” with caffeine being just one of many. As one scientist presents us with some good news, another could find something potentially negative.
It seems the key could lie in when you drink your coffee. This is due to something called a circadian rhythm or circadian clock. Basically, the circadian system is like an internal body clock responsible for helping us wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night. In the morning our cortisol is at its highest, gearing us up for the day. We get another injection around 12pm and lower amounts throughout the day as we head towards sleep.
The problem is, when we sip on a sweet espresso first thing in the morning, our cortisol levels are already at their peak and the caffeine pushes them even higher. This potentially elevates our cortisol (stress) too high much and means we actually miss out on all of those positive benefits.
Should you give up your morning bean juice? Not necessarily. There is a sweet spot at around 10am (or at least 60-90 minutes after you wake up) where you are in between cortisol boosts. Smashing an espresso at this time means you aren’t likely to cause your body excess stress and you are more likely to get those sweet coffee benefits. If you live by the motto “coffee is life” you will be interested to know that some recommend drinking 4-5 cups of coffee for maximum health benefits!