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Wine and coffee are much talked about in the health world and it’s not always good things we hear about them. Most of the times, we are cautioned about the negative health effects due to over consumption of these. But clinical and historical evidence shows us things are not really black and white here. Both coffee and wine also have positive benefits and many people thrived on a lifestyle and diet which included these on a regular basis. In the end, the question we have to ask ourselves should be:

“Are wine and coffee  good for ME and my unique metabolism?”

Let’s start with coffee. In many cultures coffee is still considered a “ritual” and an important part of people’s lives. In our modern times it became everything from a source of energy to socializing and keeping that left hand busy with the coffee mug while typing on a laptop.

We all know there are people who drink coffee in the evening and sleep like logs, but there are also people who might drink it in the morning after a good breakfast and still feel jittery, get increased heart rate and probably stay up at night. Why is that?

I believe the final answer to such “food controversies and confusions”  lies within: anthropologyand metabolic individuality.  

Anthropology teaches us that there is far too much genetic diversity in the human species to logically argue for any type of one-size-fits-all approach to food. This explains the often-conflicting nature of nutritional`science' and the failure of every one-size-fits-all plan to work for everyone who tries it.

It has been proven by over 30 years of research in metabolic individuality that any given nutrient will affect different people in different ways. Each nutrient has a stimulatory or inhibitory effect on a given metabolism. How a given nutrient affects someone depends on the dominance factor (the dominant system: autonomic or oxidative) of the person's metabolic type, not on the actual food. From this perspective, in metabolisms which function like a "protein type" coffee will have more of a negative effect (irritability, jittery feeling, increased hunger, etc), but in metabolisms which function like "carb types", coffee will be better tolerated, especially after a complete meal.

As far as health benefits, Ray Peat, PhD states in one of his studies, “Caffeine: A vitamin-like nutrient, or adaptogen?” that coffee drinkers might have alower incidence of thyroid disease and cancer, get protection of the liver from alcohol and acetaminophen, have a lower incidence of suicide and get protection against Parkinson’s disease. Coffee provides very significant quantities of magnesium, as well as other nutrients including vitamin B1 and it might stop production of free radicals.

The coffee enema is believed to be useful in aiding the liver in its processes of detoxification, as well as aiding the colon in its activities of elimination. It’s a powerful addition to most healing protocols, for even most serious diseases like cancer. The efficient removal of metabolic waste and toxins through the colon is vital to the maintenance of health and prevention of illness. But in this case of course, coffee "drinking" has nothing to do with it!

Still, there are actually more studies out there that state the negative effects of coffee drinking, than the ones that point out the good effects.  In many people it creates dependency, illustrated by the fact that withdrawal from it can create headaches and intense cravings for it. This is mainly because a specific food that has been used for centuries on certain occasions and in certain quantities by certain cultures has become a widely available, over-consumed, over-advertised, and a profit-making food in all countries. One can’t overlook the often reported negative health effects:

Coffee is a strong diuretic in the human body. In large doses it can increase fluid flushing through the kidneys, which leads tofrequent urination, loss of minerals like calcium and other important nutrients and dehydration.

Coffee is a central nervous system stimulator that gives the adrenals a kick and causes the production ofmore cortisol resulting in short term benefits of heightened awareness / alertness and more energy. On a long term this may result in a “crash” after each consumption and lower levels of energy than previously thereby necessitating another cup and another cup, etc. Thus, it may be addictive and ultimately may result in adrenal exhaustion.

Caffeine is related to a wide spectrum of health disorders including cardiovascular problems, blood sugar swings, gastrointestinal problems, nutritional deficiencies.

Is wine any better? 

Chronic consumption of alcohol increases oxidative stress, accounting for striking neurological changes. However, polyphenols from red wine, grape skins and grape seeds exhibit strong antioxidant activity. More than 200 polyphenols have been identified in red wine, the most notable being resveratrol, quercetin, and catechin.
The accumulation of fat in the liver is a chronic condition commonly associated with drinking alcohol, especially in excess. But scientists involved in recent research say resveratrol shows promise for preventing and treating human alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Research from the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida found that resveratrol reduces the amount of fat produced in the livers of mice chronically fed high levels of ethanol. It also increases the rate that existing liver fat is broken down. Perhaps their most interesting finding was that the combination of ethanol and resveratrol had a greater impact than resveratrol alone.

So, considering this double edged sword, we should ask ourselves the same question: “Is it good for ME?”

As I stated above, it all comes down to one’s metabolic individuality, the state of health and the ability not only to drink wine with no negative health effects, but to actually benefit from its consumption. It is well known that long living populations like those in the Greek island Ikaria and the Italian island Sardinia, consume local, organic, traditionally made red wine of high quality, containing a very high antioxidant level, and definitely benefit from it. But you might have a totally different life style than these populations, a different diet and a totally different genetic makeup. Again, one size doesn’t fit all, and “one man’s food is another one’s poison.”

Those who are not fit for alcoholic drinks including wine, experience all sorts of health problems. As with coffee, wine drinking can become addictive and so alcoholism is a disorder to be taken very seriously since it keeps destroying many lives. What happens exactly in these cases? In alcohol addictions, ongoing use alters brain chemistry causing distortions too great for willpower to control. Willpower cannot lift depression, or stop the cravings caused by chemical imbalances. First alcoholics develop a whole range of nutritional imbalances like B vitamins malabsorption and amino acid deficiencies, which determine them to crave the alcohol even more.  

At its core foundation, alcohol is actually a major sugar addiction, aspect studied in detail by Julia Ross, author of “The Mood Cure” and developer of the healing program with amino acids for addictions. Alcohol converts into a fake serotonin faster than table sugar does, but it’s only a quick fix, and when the blood sugar levels crash, the person craves more.  People who give up alcohol often revert to candy bars and sweets instead for this very reason. Specific supplementation and eating healthier foods helps to gradually stop the up and down sugar levels.

In the end, we all enjoy more or less drinking wine and coffee at some point in our lives. The secret is to get to know our body very well and how exactly it is affected by what we are consuming. Then, we can take the best decision for ourselves in regard to coffee and wine.


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