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Health: Could Too Much Coffee Be Causing this Deficiency?

Did you know that the average person in the United States consumes just over 300 mg of caffeine per day (the amount of caffeine in just over three cups of coffee)?

When people talk about whether to drink coffee or not, usually the thing they focus on is the caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine as I am, you should definitely limit the amount and make sure you have it early enough that it doesn’t hinder your ability to sleep.

That happened to me. My husband was given several boxes of raspberry tea years ago. Without carefully reading the package, and just assuming it was herbal tea, I made a cup after dinner. It was delicious! So delicious in fact, I had a second cup. And then found myself unable to sleep or shut my brain down for 2 days! Literally. I went back and realized it was black tea with raspberry flavor. Live and learn.

Drinking a high quality coffee in moderation, does have health benefits, if you like it. But here is something you may not be aware of. Caffeine in coffee increases excretion of sodium and chloride (aka salt) both through sweat and urine. Here’s why this could be a bigger problem than just having too much caffeine.

We’ve been told forever it seems that salt is bad for us and we have to limit it. We’ve been told salt is bad for the heart. We are learning now that the opposite seems to be true. Numerous studies have, overall, refuted the salt-heart disease connection. In fact, studies found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death. In fact, salt restriction actually increased the risk of death in those with heart failure.

Salt is an essential nutrient required for blood pressure regulation, transporting nutrients into and out of your cells, maintaining hydration and brain-muscle communication. Salt is actually a nutritional superstar, provided you consume the right kind, and maintain a proper salt-to-potassium ratio. But all salts are not equal, in terms of their impact on your health. Processed, white (table) salt is known to raise blood pressure, while natural unprocessed salt (like Himalayan Crystal and Celtic sea) is not only healing, but in fact essential for many biological functions.

So, if you eat all processed, packaged foods, then you probably do get way too much sodium. And I am all for eliminating processed foods as well as replacing processed, white table salt with natural, unprocessed salt that provides all the trace minerals your body needs, not just sodium. Of course, balancing that out with plenty of potassium-rich veggies is the other part of that equation.

However, you can also become sodium depleted, especially if you limit intake of salt or you drink too many caffeinated beverages!

So let’s put this into perspective: (Finish here)

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Comment by Ann Musico on July 12, 2017 at 4:04am

Haha Debbie - isn't it always?

Comment by Debbie W. Wilson on July 11, 2017 at 6:17pm

Thanks, Ann. I think the key word is "little!"

Comment by Ann Musico on July 11, 2017 at 2:38pm

As far as I have ever read chocolate doesn't deplete you of sodium but since it does have some caffeine it may slightly dehydrate you. Of course, the more sugar the chocolate has the more dehydrating it is as well. That's not to say that a little dark chocolate isn't a good choice because it is.

Comment by Debbie W. Wilson on July 11, 2017 at 2:22pm

I didn’t know caffeine depletes us of sodium. Is that true of chocolate too? I always learn something new from you, Ann. Thanks so much

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