#028: Caffeine Impacts, Coffee Habits, Adrenal Fatigue & What You Can Do About It – The Coffee Episode: Part Two

Something to think about … 

An amazing continuation from last week’s conversation, The Coffee Episode #027. We’re back with the girls from SHE Changes Everything & we’re covering all of the unanswered questions you have.

 “We typically reach for caffeine because the cue is fatigue.”

– Heather Young, SHEchangesEverything.com

If you’re reaching for caffeine more than once a day – consider the causes. 

Available to Listen on:  iTunes  &  Spotify, or Play Directly Below.

In this episode:

– What effects is caffeine having on my body? Health benefits included.

– How much is too much? What’s the “safe’ amount? Is decaf any better?

– Is adding all of the adaptogens, or trending superfoods really worth it?

– What’s coffee doing to my adrenals? Stress levels? Anxiety?

– How can I start cutting back without suffering the consequences?

– Can I just drink my coffee black?

– Favorite coffee brands, links and resources below

As you know – we’re not here for the fads or promoting the trends.

… We’re here to talk about what really works and share what we know, based on the research we’ve done as well as share our professional and personal experience with each conversation.

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty details first, then we’ll tackle why it actually matters:

Typical Caffeine Content:

Keep in mind: Caffeine content can vary depending on the brand you’re drinking – Starbucks has been known to contain higher amounts than other companies … we’re not exactly sure why, but we have our theories. The average numbers below, do not apply to Starbucks or any specific chain brand – you can look deeper into your favorite brands HERE, it’s an incredible online resource.

Standard Drip: 115-175mg caffeine per 8 ounces*** 

Espresso: 40mg per shot

Brewed: 80-135mg per 8 ounces

Cold Brew: can range from 200-350mg per 8 ounces, *depending on how it’s brewed

*caffeine content varies based on brand

** it’s recommend that you consume less than 100mg daily when pregnant

*** be mindful of an 8 ounce pour (it’s smaller than you might realize.)

We encourage you to look up the caffeine content of your favorite “coffee drink” at your go-to coffee shop using this great guide we found, HERE. They provide a table/chart/list depending on the coffee shop you choose – showing you the amounts of caffeine in your favorite drink order, including – Dunkin Donuts, Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, etc.

Health Benefits of coffee *may include:

  • Protection against neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Dementia
  • Improved heart health
  • Cancer protection (especially kidney & colon cancers)
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Ability to help fight depression (by mildly lifting your mood)
  • Increased physical performance (it’s been proven that you only need approx. 100mg of caffeine (less than 8 ounces of a standard cup of coffee or 2 espresso shots) to enhance your workout – versus the synthetic powders containing upwards of 400mg)
  • May improve asthmatic conditions
  • lower your risk of GI diseases
  • may enhance your bifido strain of bacteria depending on your microbiome balance and ability to process caffeine

*keep in mind – quality matters. Choose Organic when possible, to decrease your pesticide load. Freshly ground, light to medium roast. Brewed at the right temperature. No added flavors or artificial ingredients, preferred.

Everybody metabolizes caffeine differently:

  • there are fast versus slow metabolizers and increased levels of daily caffeine consumption may affect your HPA axis (adrenal health and cortisol levels)
  • Feeling jittery, anxious, stressed, digestive issues?
  • Be mindful of the fact that your energy requirements and ability to tolerate various amounts depending on what’s going on in your life, how active you are, how much you’ve eaten, stress levels, etc, may be different for you on a day to day basis
  • Be mindful of the time that you’re drinking issues – especially if you’re having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep
    • Stop drinking coffee by 2pm
    • If you’re strongly effected, stop by 10am

Mindless Sipping STAT:

  • How long does it take for you to finish your morning cup of coffee? Ideally – you should be consuming it within 20 minutes of being brewed. 
  • FUN FACT: The acidity of the coffee you’re drinking becomes more acidic the longer it sits out, & this may lead to increased enamel erosion and staining of your teeth, increased gastric upset, and/or even increased hydrochloric acid production. 

… we discuss the importance of balanced stomach acid and it’s impacts on your long term health in episode 23.

Adrenal Fatigue & Cortisol Levels:

Otherwise known as HPA axis dysfunction (hypothalamus to pituitary to adrenal communication has been disrupted) – is extremely common and goes undiagnosed & unaddressed by the majority of western medicine physicians.

  • Symptoms or Health Issues to look out for:
    • sleep disruption, extreme fatigue, anxiety, wired & tired, low mood, spare tire around your midsection, hormone irregularities, water retention
  • Which means: If you “can’t function” without your daily cup of coffee – this should be a red flag that HPA axis dysfunction is a problem for you and your daily cup of coffee (caffeine intake) may be contributing to your worsening health issues, long term if left unaddressed

Consider Cutting Back… & How to do it:

  • Realizing you might be more dependent on your daily coffee ritual than you realized? Considering cutting back to see how you’ll feel? We can’t encourage you enough to give it a try. Here’s How:
  • How much caffeine are you drinking? What time do you typically have your last cup?
  • Start by looking at your caffeine timing and pay attention to your “cut off time”& backtrack slowly. 
  • Drink half regular + half decaf at first if you need additional cups throughout the day.
  • Consider drinking your last cup of coffee around 2pm, then noon making it a goal to cut off by 10 or 11am at the latest in order to minimize your caffeine window and allow your liver adequate time to process it.
  • Start your day with a glass of water before coffee. Your need for coffee first thing in the morning might be a sign of dehydration and water might be a game changer for you
  • Pay attention to your blood sugar control and always aim to have food before caffeine or at least ‘with it’ and avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
  • Remember – it’s best to combine with protein + fat to blunt the caffeine’s effect on the system.
  • What’s your meal timing? How long are you going between meals? Are you getting enough calories throughout the day? Or are you relying on caffeine?
  • Is it just a flavor or a ritual for you? Consider decaf in the afternoons to help break the habit

 “It’s just habit to reach for the caffeine first. But if youre well fed and well hydrated – you might not have those afternoon cravings”

– Briana Reesing of beachlifeorganic.com

Switching to Decaf & It’s Benefits:

  • Still associated with all of the same health benefits when “chemical free” – if not available, skip it. Brands we love below.
  • It won’t effect your HPA axis or your hormones
  • Will still bring you joy, flavor, aroma and won’t disrupt your routine
  • REMEMBER: Decaf coffee is not available naturally – there is no “decaf” coffee bean that grows naturally – it has to be man made and processed. Be aware of the process you’re choosing.
    • Solvent based, aka conventional, most widely available “decaf”: a chloride chemical is used to decaffeinate the coffee bean. This chemical is “methylenechloride” and it is not able to be completely cleared by the body and makes it taste terrible. If this is something you’re drinking regularly – this added chemical can really put a burden on your body while trying to get rid of it.
    • Non Solvent based, aka the type of decaf you want to look for: Is known as ‘Swiss Water Processing’ – it’s a chemical free process that solely uses water at specifically certified facilities. Companies that invest in this method – will proudly display this certification on the products using a swiss water certified logo.
    • Consider asking your cafes and local coffee shops before purchasing.
This is the blue logo you want to see proudly displayed on the coffee you choose to purchase & consume.


  • Ideal certifications to look for when buying your next bag of coffee:
    • Fair Trade, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, & Swiss Water Processed* (when buying decaf varieties).
4 main logos you should be looking for when buying coffee - Fair trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance & Swiss Water Process (when buying decaf).

Last but not least, Here’s Something to keep in mind: 

“A lot of people are just out for profit – without paying attention to your longterm health”

Briana Reesing of BeachLifeOrganic.com

That being said – We show up as a free resource for you on a weekly basis to help inspire you, educate you and motivate you to continue seeking out what works best for you & choose to make better choices as you learn more.

You vote with your dollar with every purchase you make, and YOU can truly shift the quality of the products available to us based on the companies you support and the products you buy. 

Thank you for joining the conversation, we’re so happy you’re here.

If you haven’t already – Here’s how you can support us in 3 easy steps:

  • Subscribe to the podcast on itunes, spotify, or whichever app you’re listening on
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New episodes release every Thursday.

If you’re new here & just getting started – Check out our top episodes:

  • Episode 11: Artificial Sweeteners, Zero Calories & The Pregnancy Warning You May Not Have Known About (Aspartame. Sucralose, Splenda, Saccharin, Stevia & More.)
  • Episode 16: Is It Willpower, Or Is It Your Microbiome? Discussing The Foods & Lifestyle Habits That Are Effecting Our Gut Health On A Daily Basis – with Brigid Titgemeier
  • Episode 22: Celery Juice, Intuitive Eating, & The Thyroid Issue No One is Talking About, with Jennifer Klotz, MS, RD, LDN
  • Episode 27: The Coffee Episode – A Sustainable, Healthy & Ethical Conversation

Hosted by Briana Reesing, BSN, RN, CEN

Joined by Heather Young & Jennifer Klotz in this Episode: #028: Caffeine Impacts, Coffee Habits, Adrenal Fatigue & What You Can Do About It – The Coffee Episode: Part Two. 

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