5 Things You Need To Know About Coffee

To coffee or not to coffee?…a question we receive often.

Bottom line:  It all depends on how well you are able to regulate your blood sugar.

Most people with hypothyroidism have a very difficult time regulating blood glucose levels as a result of chronically low glycogen reserves stored in the liver (an adaptive stress response).  In cases such as this, it is not so much a question of whether to drink coffee or not, as much as it about how and when you drink coffee.

5 things you need to know about drinking coffee:

  1. It is not a requirement for healing. Meaning if coffee has never been your thing, do not just start drinking it with the hopes that if you do, you will feel better. While some can tolerate coffee and even enjoy the benefits it does have to offer, it is not for every body.
  2. It does not matter how you drink it. I like to add cream, sugar and collagen to my coffee. Josh likes his black and with sugar. Point is, it does not matter how you drink it, nor does adding or subtracting any of the above mentioned make it better or worse. If you feel adding the extra cream, butter, coconut oil or ghee helps you tolerate the caffeine, great, however…
  3. Coffee should never be considered a meal. Most people are in an state where their adrenals and their thyroid are being negatively affected by the overall chronic stress of life. The caffeine in coffee increases stress hormones potentially pushing the body deeper into a heightened state. In this state the body requires a good balance of nutrition from whole foods to help maintain adequate blood glucose balance.
  4. Coffee should never be consumed on an empty stomach. For those of you in a hypothyroid state, waking up and drinking coffee is one of the worst things you can do to manage your blood sugar. If you wake up with low body temperatures your body is showing you it is in an energy deficit, which leads to an increase in the release of stress hormones (low body temperature – elevated stress hormone). As mentioned above, the stimulating affects of the caffeine have the potential to drive this dysfunction and the result is you chasing your blood sugar for the remainder of the day (cravings, never quite satiated).
  5. Coffee interferes with the absorption of your thyroid medications. Research has shown that having coffee at the same time, or soon after taking your thyroid medication significantly lowers the absorption of thyroid medication in the intestines making it much less effective.

How will you know if coffee is working for you?

Pay attention to how caffeine makes you feel. Do you require caffeine to function (ie. energy, bowel movements, mood)? Does it leave you feeling jittery, sweaty, unable to settle/anxious? Depressed? Do you experience digestive discomfort when drinking coffee? GERD? Do you have disrupted sleep?

How to make it work for you

These are all great questions to ask yourself as you assess whether coffee is supportive or disruptive to your healing process.

Using body temperature and pulse to assess how your body is responding to your coffee routine can also be very informative.  Are your energy levels staying consistent with your body temperature and pulse? Is your pulse elevated (>85bpm)? Did your temperature rise or fall?

If you find it might not be supporting you in the ways you had hoped, sometimes something as simple as having your coffee following a meal can make all the difference.

Sometimes taking a break from the coffee can offer you a better sense of the effects it might be having on you.

Sounds unmanageable but you might just find it significantly reduces the stress load on your system and helps you to feel a sense of calm, clarity and more restful and restorative sleep.


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