Second to only crude oil as the most traded commodity in the world, it is a staple in the Canadian diet – we consume yearly 152.1 liters per capita- and a fantastic pre-workout. Plus, its a part of every podcast or breakdown we record over at Championship Lifestyle HQ. Have you guessed what we’re talking about for this week’s breakdown?
The Nectar of the Gods…Coffee.
Few substances are as globally understood and appreciated as coffee, from old couples in their Sunday bests on a Tuesday afternoon sitting outside a cafe in Sestri Levante sipping a piping hot espresso, too lazy Saturday mornings spent hurled around the pour-over, or the late night gas station fix, that might be coffee but could also be muddy water with a caffeine pill cracked into it. Everyone is searching for something in their, it might be silence or connection, performance, or salvation but no matter the reason it is deeply intertwined with our fabric of being.
The fitness industry is no stranger to the coffee craze, Bulletproof, Caveman and Kimera are all names easily recognizable in the health community, whether it’s butter coffee, drip, cold brew or pour-over everyone has preferred method for optimization. Or, you could belong to the anti-coffee team (the bad guys) who believe that it is best to abstain from consuming this easily accessible drug, instead opting for teas, mushroom elixirs, and raw cacao hot chocolates. Everyone has an opinion on what to drink, when to drink it and why.
Guess what? So do we.
But first, let’s spend a moment discussing the mechanism behind caffeine – coffee’s active ingredient- we sometimes feel like a machine powered by that 8 oz cup of magic but what is actually going on below the surface.
When we are awake our body produces a neurotransmitter named Adenosine, this neurotransmitter binds to receptors in our brain that are responsible for drowsiness, as the number of bound adenosine molecules increases so does our level of drowsiness, until our body decides it time to shut down and take a sleep.
Caffeine mirrors the shape of Adenosine and will compete for the receptor sites, delaying the onset of drowsiness, increasing adrenaline release and allowing dopamine and glutamine to move freely and affect your alertness and mood more than they would if controlled by Adenosine. As your body adjusts to the effects of caffeine you may require an extra cup or two.
Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, these are substances that help to combat oxidation and free-radicals that would attack our system. It is actually the highest single source of anti-oxidants that we consume in a day.
It has benefits for liver function
Memory and learning as well as helping to prevent Alzheimer’s
Downside of this Magic Drink
Genetic predispositions can contribute greatly to the way your body tolerates coffee and what leads to wonderful and productive energy in one person can cause crippling anxiety, jitters, and sleeplessness in others. Our response to caffeine is very much individualized, the rate that we metabolize caffeine is largely due to our parents, the average half-life for coffee is 6 hours, meaning that 6 hours after drinking 150 mg of caffeine, 75 mg will still be circulating your system, this time varies based on your genetics.
If you are attempting to go to sleep at 10 pm crushing double espresso after dinner is likely a poor choice, interestingly even if you don’t report difficulty in falling asleep or poor sleep quality your ability to enter REM – the deep restorative sleep our body craves – will be disrupted and you, in fact, be less rested the following day. String a few days of poor sleep together and you begin asking for trouble.
Caffeine also has a direct effect on peristalsis – the wave-like contractions of our digestive system – that can contribute to improper nutrient absorption. If food is pushed through our system too quickly we will not be able to absorb and assimilate the required nutrients for daily function. Relying on caffeine to produce a bowel movement is not a healthy process.
Coffee Consummation Codes
- Pick Fair Trade, Organic, Mycotoxin Free beans
- Consume 1-2 cups
- Time it around workouts if possible
- Avoid consuming within 6 hours of bedtime