Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coffee - Good or Bad for You?

There are numerous studies showing coffee to have benefits like lowering the risk of Alzheimers, cutting the risk of stroke, cutting the risk of gall stones and lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.  Conversely, coffe has been shown to cause insomnia, anxiety, upset stomach and the withdrawal symptoms are debilitating.  So what's the deal?  Should we drink coffee or not?
Ayurveda views whether a food is good for you based on an individual's body type.  One of the factors determining whether a food is suited to an individual is the taste of the food.  There are 6 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, astrigent, bitter and pungent.  Each taste carries certain energetic properties.  Coffee is a bitter tasting food.  Bitter foods tend to break up tissue and purify.  If someone has a lot of ama (toxins), there is an excess that would benefit from the bitter process.  For example, in Alzheimers a certain plaque builds up in the brain and inhibits brain function.  Coffee with its bitter taste may energetically break up the plaque and this explains how it is statistically reduces the risk of Alzheimers.  Yet, a vata type individual should favor sweet, sour and salty tastes.  The other tastes are recommended in moderation because energetically they cause an excess of vata.  Some signs of excess vata are anxiety and insomnia.  Coffee has been known to cause anxiety and insomnia.
So, is coffee good or bad for you?  It depends on who is asking the question.
Stay healthy & well,


  1. Thanks for the post. I'm a pitta/vata person and i have always hated caffee. Now i know that it's not so bad. So i will not have so extreme view on it. But i don't drink it, think it make me more mental.

  2. do you think it lowers agni though?

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for your comment. Small amounts of the bitter taste actually enhances digestion/agni. It is best to have all the tastes represented at a meal balanced by body & illness type.

  4. Hi Lisa,


    I'm an Ayurvedic Practitioner and I found your commentary on coffee to so helpful as an explanation to my clients.

    Thanks so much!