History of coffee dates back 3000 years. It is one of the most consumed and loved beverages in the world, after tea and water. Coffee is brewed from the roasted seeds of the evergreen, tropical coffee plant. Internationally, coffee is considered to be one of the most profitable commodities. Coffee is enjoyed in various flavors like cappuccino, mocha, and latte.
Ayurveda, or the ancient Indian medical science, assertively suggests guidelines for the consumption of coffee. It is an established fact that people who consume one cup of coffee every day are 12% less likely to die of diseases like cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart, kidney, or respiratory diseases than those who don’t. About three cups of coffee every day – you’re about 18% less likely to die of these diseases.
However, people addicted to coffee can face side effects. It negatively impacts estrogen levels in women, increases blood pressure, and can trigger stress hormones. Just like other foods, how do you know if coffee is right for you, and how much is right for you? It all depends on your individual constitution or your mind-body types.
Following are the guidelines Ayurveda recommends for the consumption of coffee:
- Know your individual constitution: Coffee has different effects on different mind-body types. Coffee can act as medicine for the Kapha type of constitution. If your health is kapha-dominant, do drink about one cup of coffee daily. The stimulating and warm qualities of coffee can counterfeit kapha’s slow and sluggish qualities. People with excess Pitta or Vaat types of constitutions can however avoid coffee. Coffee increases the hot and dry qualities of these constitutions and can cause health problems.
- Don’t drink too much coffee: Small amount of coffee can act as medicine. However, an overdose of coffee can increase acidity levels, deplete the adrenals and cause abdominal inflammation, dehydration, or anxiety. Ayurveda recommends only one cup of coffee every day for all types of doshas. While drinking coffee, you may drink one cup of warm water beforehand, to keep yourself hydrated.
- Drink coffee before 9:00 AM: Healthiest time to drink coffee is before you start your workday. It is around this time the cold and heavy qualities of kapha are activated. Coffee stimulates the mind and gives a slight kick that counterbalances the slowness and sluggishness of the morning kapha.
- Drink only organic coffee: Coffee that is produced conventionally may contain residues of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Do not let these toxins to enter in your health system. They could be first stage of the disease.
- Have coffee with breakfast: Set up a coffee routine in the morning. When you consume coffee on an empty stomach, which can cause acidity. Caffeine in the early morning can increase anxiety. Ayurveda recommends a cup of warm water with a few drops of lemon juice and honey to be consumed 20 minutes before breakfast. You can then eat a grounding and nourishing breakfast. Let the breakfast be followed by medicinal coffee.
Avoid coffee if
- You have excessive signs of Pitta: That is if you face symptoms such as acidity, heartburn, acid reflux, and skin rashes, and you are often agitated, disturbed, angry, irritated, or hypercritical.
- You have excessive signs of Vata: These include dryness of skin and hair, insomnia, anxiety, constipation, forgetfulness, restlessness, or if you feel scattered or withdrawn. Coffee can make symptoms worst for the above type of people.
Follow the rules of your dosha
o Vata type: If you’re healthy and do not experience the above symptoms, make your coffee creamy and sweet. It has a nourishing effect on your system. However, avoid drinking coffee more than one cup per day.
o Pitta type: Add maple syrup to sweeten your coffee. This reduces acidity causing the effect of coffee. Drink only one cup of coffee every day.
o Kapha type: Take your coffee black and not with milk or cream. Milk or cream can increase congestion for kaphas and sugar can cause weight gain. Remember, one cup of coffee daily.
Hence, after all this discussion, you may ask what is the right way to drink coffee.
- Coffee with spices: Add about half a teaspoon of the powder of spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom to your cup of coffee.
- Coffee with milk: Add organically produced cow’s milk, or plant-based milk to your coffee.
- Coffee with ghee: You can add ghee or clarified butter to your coffee. Clarified butter is free of lactose and casein and hence easy to digest than regular butter.
To consume coffee or not to consume coffee is not like black and white issue. If a person who once drank four cups of coffee every day for twenty years tones it down to one or two cups in a day, that is a great compromise. You can always replace coffee with tea, or better than the best – just warm water – the best recommendation according to Ayurveda as your morning beverage