is coffee bad for me

Is Coffee bad for me

Is Coffee bad for me?

is coffee bad for meIs coffee bad for me? We have long viewed coffee with suspicion. It was first introduced in Italy in the 17th century, but is coffee bad for me? When it was first introduced it was associated with political dissent and infamous coffee houses.

Nowadays, coffee (caffeine) is commonly thought of as a drug. It alters mood and it is addictive. It is not recommended for children, adolescents and pregnant women due to the effect of caffeine on the developing brain.

When we are being virtuous and embarking on a spring detox we ‘give up’ coffee along with other toxic foods like sugar. It takes a few days to get over that horrible withdrawal headache, so it’s got to be bad for us, right?

Well, coffee might not be bad for everyone!

Some of the good…

Coffee beans are complex little packages; they contain more than just caffeine. Research on the polyphenols in the coffee bean has shown that these substances have amazing benefits. They can reduce the risk of depression, improve memory, and maybe even reduce the risk of some cancers such as liver cancer and some types of breast cancer. Caffeine itself has been found to reduce the risk of diabetes and syndrome X.(1)

Coffee was previously thought to increase the risk of heart disease but a recent Harvard study found ‘no convincing link’.(2) Now the thinking is that it could even reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke in some people.

Some of the bad…

On the negative side, there is other research and lots of clinical stories telling us that some people suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, disturbed sleep, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and even iron deficiency (coffee may prevent absorption of some nutrients).

So which category are you in?

Is coffee bad for me? or not? Reaction to caffeine is a very individual thing. It seems that the way some of our genes express themselves means that some people cannot process caffeine very well at all. Naturopaths label these people ‘slow metabolisers’. The caffeine they drink may hang around for 24 hours or even longer. So, every cup they have keeps building on previous cups they have had that day, even the day before. Other lucky people will have metabolized most of their caffeine within 8-12 hours. So, they can have a cup or two or even three, with no bad effects.

Of course it’s not only about genes. There are many other factors that affect the metabolism of caffeine in a person such as medications, or high amounts of chemicals or pesticides, which can slow down or even damage the liver. The latter makes a good case for drinking organic coffee as non-organic coffee is sprayed frequently while the beans are growing!

The slow metabolisers might have to limit their coffee intake to one small cup or less each day. They can check their genes out with a blood test. Even if it is in their genes, there is much that can be done naturopathically to improve the metabolism of substances like caffeine once we gain an understanding of how an individual’s system is working.

Coffee can be healthy (in moderation!) if you metabolise it efficiently!

So Is coffee bad for me? The answer is not necessarily.

Kathy HarrisNaturopath, Wholistic Medical Centre

[1] Lee, A.H., Tan, L., et al. 2016, Plasma concentrations of coffee polyphenols and plasma biomarkers of diabetes risk in healthy Japanese women. Nutr Diabetes, 6;6:e212. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2016.19    


Thyroid Problems

Is my thyroid making me feel tired?

Thyroid Problems

Feeling tired? Could be your thyroid.

Our thyroid plays a key role in our body’s ability to function. Yet lifestyle factors like stress and diet can throw our thyroid out of balance and affect our body in a number of ways.

A tired mother

Sally*, a 36-year-old mother of two young children, had been feeling unusually tired since her younger child was born a year ago. This was not at all normal for her.  Along with this fatigue, she’d gained 5kg over the last six to ten months and had some other symptoms that concerned her. Her partner was a high-powered executive and was frequently away for a week at a time.

She booked a naturopathy appointment at the Wholistic Medical Centre to uncover why her system was out of balance, and to support it back to health through diet, lifestyle and naturopathic medicines.

Was it Sally’s thyroid that was making her tired?

At the first, hour-long consultation, Sally explained how her hair had been falling out in clumps, her stools had become less frequent and harder to pass and she had developed haemorrhoids. Because she was feeling so tired, she had fallen out of her daily walking routine and was feeling generally very sluggish.

Sally had no prior history of these symptoms; she was usually a vibrant and energetic woman involved in various volunteer organisations.

She felt she’d lost her “mojo”.

Blood tests revealed that her thyroid was under functioning; Sally was ‘hypothyroid’.  An under functioning thyroid can affect body temperature and circulation, appetite, energy levels, growth, skeletal development, muscle tone and agility, heart rate, fluid balance, blood sugar levels, central nervous system function, bowel function, cholesterol levels, regulation of fat, carbohydrates and protein and the metabolism inside all cells in the body.

Naturopathy may help restore the thyroid that was making Sally feel so tired!

A wholistic naturopathic protocol was implemented to get Sally’s thyroid functioning back to normal. Herbal medicines and nutritional supplements were recommended, along with dietary advice. Sally was to reduce the serving size and frequency of specific foods that may have been blocking her thyroid: broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage, rutabagas, mustard greens, radishes, horseradish, cassava root, soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts, millet and flaxseeds.

Over the following two months, Sally took her herbal medicines and her supplements daily and reduced the foods as advised.

And good news!

Her energy levels improved and she felt her body returning to normal. Sally’s weight started to shift during the second month of treatment; by the third month, she resumed her regular half hour walks and her bowels emptied daily. Sally shed the extra 5kg within nine months and has maintained her desired weight since without needing her herbal medicines.



Sally’s was a straightforward case of primary hypothyroidism. Other cases may be more complex and need different types of treatment. Hypothyroidism is commonly seen in health clinics, with around 60,000 new cases being diagnosed each year Australia-wide. There are many reasons for this, which include environmental factors such as high levels of stress, toxins and electro-magnetic radiation, low intake of the right form of iodine, and high intake of foods that may block proper thyroid functioning.

Sally’s thyroid was supported successfully back to health through wholistic naturopathic protocols. Her body was viewed as a holistic integrated system and the underlying cause of her symptoms was determined and supported.

Naturopathy may help in a wide range of illnesses and ailments. The naturopathic approach aims to restore balance in the body and mind and promote long-term health and vitality by taking a wholistic approach.

*Name has been changed

This case study is for educational purposes only. Results may vary due to individual circumstances.

Kathy HarrisNaturopath, Wholistic Medical Centre