We often have clients come into the clinic fearing the suggestion to remove coffee from their morning routine. Breaking the routine seems impossible. The good news is that we have options for coffee lovers. First of all, let us understand what coffee is and how coffee works.
Coffee beans are collected from Coffea arabica Linn. and other subspecies of coffee plants are consumed all over the world as a stimulating liquid beverage. With major functional constituent being Caffeine (1-3 %), Coffee throughout history has been consumed for purposes beyond stimulation. Coffee has not been mentioned in the original texts of Ayurveda but later on, properties and action of coffee have been discussed.
Properties of Coffee:
Bitter in taste, The properties of coffee can often be considered light and dry. They have an excitatory effect on overall metabolism and help digestion. It is also good for the heart when consumed in moderation.
Functions of Coffee:
From getting rid of the foul smell to stimulating digestion and easing excretion, Coffee has many beneficial effects. It stimulates the heart and energizes heart muscles. It decreases inflammations, excites respiration, and is a quick diuretic. It nourishes the body. But when intake is in excessive amounts, it can have a Poison-like effect, disturbs digestion, and increases stress on the heart.
What is the Coffee limit?
Recommended caffeine intake per day is 120-300 mg per day.
Effects of excessive Coffee intake:
Excessive coffee intake can immediately cause – Thirst, Throat burn, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Confusion, tremor, convulsion, and paralysis (if amount consumed to too high). Long term use of Excessive amounts of coffee can result in Sluggish digestion, Anaemia, Weight loss, Headache, Hypertension, Dyspnoea, etc.
Coffee and Dosha :
Coffee due to its properties decreases Kapha – Vata and increases pitta. As pitta is primarily concerned for digestion and alertness, drinking coffee can be beneficial for people with sluggish digestion.
Kapha people can benefit much from the consumption of coffee and keep their prime Dosha in check.
However, for pitta people due to the similarity of dosha prevalence in Coffee and the body, pitta in the body can get vitiated easily and cause mental and physical problems.
Vata people can benefit from coffee intake as well but if intake exceeds moderation then they are more prone to complications as in excess, Coffee vitiates Vata-pitta dosha the most. So, when consumed in moderation and after assessment of your doshic constitution or Prakriti and under the guidance of an ayurvedic doctor, Coffee can be of much more benefits than the previous assumptions.
Coffee Addiction and its management:
Because of immediate stimulation and hectic and anxiety-prone daily life, It is more likely for individuals to develop a dependency on coffee. Therefore we suggest increasing activities like having a brisk walk, body brushing, and morning yoga before drinking coffee. This will give the body the chance to wake up naturally before having a stimulant. Coffee stimulates digestion and eases bowel movement. However, it is very important not to become dependent on coffee to have a bowel movement.
Drinking warm water in the morning before coffee can support the adrenals. If the routine is what drives you in drinking coffee, try substituting decaf coffee. Find one you really enjoy. Although there is still a slight amount of caffeine, it would have slightly less of an impact on the nervous system. we suggest having it with a bit of milk or plant-based milk to add in more sweet and calming qualities.
We enjoy dandelion root tea, which has a bitter taste and coffee drinkers often enjoy it as a substitute. Rajas Cup is the name of a substitute that our clients really enjoy. Including more sattvic activities like Yoga, meditation, pranayama, walks in nature, learning gentle music, etc. in your daily routine can also help to calm and re-energize your mind.
We suggest checking with your Ayurvedic doctor on whether coffee is suitable for you or not. They will be able to suggest the most suitable alternatives along with your doshic nature assessment (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) and can guide you in breaking coffee addiction as well.
1. Prof. Sharma P.V. , Dravyaguna Vigyana part – II , 4th edition, 1978, Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi, India