Coffee has rajasic qualities. For people who follow a rajasic diet, coffee will lead to overactivity and exhaustion. Coffee has pungent, bitter, astringent, stimulating and drying qualities. Vatas are easily stimulated by coffee and should avoid it. Coffee can heat pitta body types. Kapha are best suited to drink coffee. However both vata and pitta can drink decaf coffee.
Coffee Process- How It Affects It And History
Most negative research on coffee stems from the damaging effects of the increased production of degenerative stress hormones. Because these effects seem to be true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, it is time we realized that there may be other stimulating elements in it.
The way we process coffee alters many of its qualities. There is a long process from the original harvest to brew, and many factors along the way can change its effects. The raw green coffee bean needs more research until then the coffee drink is what we have to work with to determine its medicinal properties.
Before coffee became so widely grown, it was considered an elite drink. In Europe as early as the mid-1600’s, coffee was only used in very small quantities after a large meal in the middle of the day. Being very acidic, coffee may stimulate the digestive process and act as a digestif. There is also research that suggests that coffee may help control after-meal blood sugar spikes.
However, it is possible that coffee has the capacity to create a higher state of health for a short period of time, so as to help the body best cope with an “emergency state” of an illness such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s.
Ayurveda On Coffee
Ayurveda recognises three fundamental “qualities” of the human body called doshas. Everyone has a unique combination of these three qualities, which in turn are made up of a combination of the 5 elements which is called prakriti or nature.
The 3 doshas (and their elements) are
– Vata (air, ether)
– Pitta (fire, water)
– Kapha (earth, water)
A person’s essential prakriti never changes, but, of course, everyone will move in and out of balance, depending on their diet, their environment, their age, and even the seasons. To keep optimum health and balance, you need to eat food according to your doshas and be aware of imbalances (vikriti).
Qualities Or Guna Of Coffee According to Ayurveda
An important factor as per Ayurveda is the guna of the food. Coffee would come under Rajasic, which means that it leads to activity. So for people who already have a Rajasic diet, coffee can lead to over-activity and eventually, exhaustion.
According to Ayurveda, coffee is pungent (stimulating), bitter (lightening/diuretic + laxative) and astringent (drying/dehydrating) in nature. It also has qualities that are stimulating and drying (dehydrating + a diuretic).
As per Ayurveda, bitter foods break up the tissue and lead to purification. That is the reason why bitter foods are recommended for people who have a lot of build-up of ama in their body.
Why Should I Stop Using Coffee To Wake Me?
If coffee is being used to stimulate energy, that would lead to an imbalance because it is not being done naturally, which puts some amount of pressure on the adrenaline system. It also activates dopamine, which leads to highs and lows in energy. This can lead to an effect on the mind and the physiological functions.
Your stage of life also determines how your body might respond to coffee. The older you get, the more difficult it is for your system to tolerate a cup of coffee. But understanding your prakruthi or body constitution is key to enjoying not just coffee but all food.
Ayurvedic Suggestions To Make Your Coffee Healthy
Regular coffee effects: The hypermetabolic vata types will be easily over-stimulated by coffee and quickly become depleted by the over-stimulation.
Ayurvedic advice: Vatas can drink weak or decaf coffee mixed with plenty of warm (boiled) milk (at least 1/2 cup) Almond milk can be used, it can be sweetened, and spiced with cardamom (the best spice for Vatas), nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon. Take your coffee creamy and sweet, because it will have a grounding, nourishing effect on your system. Drink 0–1 cup daily.
Regular coffee effects: The already over-competitive pitta types will be driven even further by the coffee boost. Coffee is also very acidic and heating. This can be too much for the already hot pitta body type.
Ayurvedic advice: Pittas should drink coffee in moderation and favour decaf. Drink it mixed with warm (boiled) milk, sweetened with sugar or honey. Sweeten your coffee with a high-quality maple syrup or organic cane sugar, but skip the cream, to counteract the beverage’s acidic qualities (assuming you are not experiencing the pitta imbalances listed above). Drink 0–1 cup daily.
For Kaphas coffee is positively recommended (within reasonable limits of course!), although without milk or sugar, which are not recommended for Kaphas. Drink coffee black or use rice milk instead of cow’s milk. Avoid sugar and instead, sweeten with honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Ayurvedic coffee advice: Take your coffee black. Milk or cream can increase congestion and sweeteners can cause weight gain for kaphas. Drink 1 cup daily, but not more.