I recently attended an elite celebrity boot camp in California, and two months prior to arrival a packet containing all of the pre-preparation recommendations arrived for transitioning to a plant-based diet. The preparations included eliminating meat and caffeine. The former was fine by me, the latter not so fine by me, so I didn’t do it.
At the camp, we were given three plant-based meals daily, plus very small snacks mid-day while hiking and exercising vigorously. I was hungry, but I was also suffering some serious detox having no caffeine in my diet. My symptoms included migraine headaches, nausea, and dizzy spells. The thing I wanted more than anything else was a cup of old-fashioned Lipton’s tea. Upon return from the boot camp, I sought medical advice on my symptoms and learned that caffeine is not necessarily something you need to eliminate from any health-based diet.
Dr. Leslie Dominguez, an internist based in Covington, LA offers the following reasons why caffeine is good for you:
- Increased Metabolism and Physical Performance – If you’re looking to lose weight, caffeine actually increases metabolic rate, which leads to increased fat-burning. According to the American Council on Exercise, caffeine is absorbed through the small intestine and stomach within 30-45 minutes after consumption. As it is metabolized, caffeine stimulates the nervous system, heart, and muscles that control blood pressure, and this stimulation can increase sports performance (endurance and strength).
- Reduce Some Cancer Risks – According to the American Cancer Society, studies have shown that coffee might lower the risk of some types of cancer, including prostate cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and some cancers of the mouth and throat.
- Reduce Risk of Strokes – The journal Stroke shows that caffeine reduces the risk of stroke by up to 20%. Over 13 years, a study showed that among more than 82,000 men and women who drank coffee regularly were less likely to suffer a stroke. Swedish researchers followed more than 30,000 women from age 49-83 over a ten year period and found that those who drank more than two or more cups of coffee every day decreased stroke risk by nearly a quarter.
- Decrease chances of having Diabetes – The Harvard School of Public Health released study results showing that people who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period lowered their risk for type 2 diabetes by 11%. The study also revealed that those who decreased their coffee consumption by more than a cup per day increased their type 2 diabetes risk by 17%.
- Reduce risk of Dementia or Alzheimer’s – Studies at the National Institute of Health show that middle-aged people who drink 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day could decrease dementia or Alzheimer’s disease risk by about 65%.