Updated: Mar 24, 2020
What is the ayurvedic view on drinking coffee? Coffee is kind of controversial in health circles. Some sources say it’s good, some say it’s bad. As always the ayurvedic answer is more nuanced: whether coffee is good for you very much depends on a number of factors. (You didn’t think I would write an anti-coffee blog post, did you? ;-) )
Ayurvedic properties of coffee
First of all the ayurvedic properties of coffee. All foods have certain effects on the body and mind. In ayurveda every food is described according to its taste, energy, aftertaste and special effects. And every one of the properties of a food is described in relation to the effect on your type (dosha). That’s very simply explained how ayurvedic nutrition works.
So what’s the deal with coffee?
Ayurvedic properties of coffee
Taste: pungent and bitter
Post-digestive taste: pungent
No special effects
Dosha: VP+ K-
Does this sounds like Chinese to you? Read my intro on what is ayurveda and take the dosha test to know which ayurvedic type you are!
Recent research has found that there is actually a coffee gene. If you have a greater expression of this gene it is more difficult for you to digest coffee and you will experience more negative symptoms after drinking it. So as a result you will drink less coffee. If you have a lesser expression of the gene you will digest coffee more easily and probably drink more of it.
Here’s a little self test. Which situation applies to you most?
Anxious and shaky
You get anxious and jittery easily after drinking coffee (excess vata). If you have coffee in the afternoon you have difficulty falling asleep and sleeping through the night (excess vata). You may get heart palpitations or high blood pressure after drinking it (excess pita). It may cause diarrhea and/or heartburn when you drink it (excess pita). You metabolise coffee slowly.
A good kick
You can have coffee with food. Coffee without food will likely give you the above symptoms but if you have it with food you’re good. A cup of coffee will likely give you the exact kick that you need in the morning or afternoon. You digest coffee normally.
You drink coffee like water. Coffee never makes you feel shaky and you can drink all the coffee you want. You can drink it at night and still fall asleep easily. It promotes your digestion in a good way. You digest coffee easily.
Coffee and your ayurvedic type
According to the ayurvedic properties of coffee, it is vata and pita increasing, and kapha reducing. This means that if your dosha is vata or pita dominant, you will likely like coffee very much (or its effects), but drinking it might bring your doshas out of balance.
Excess vata dosha will cause or increase symptoms like restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. Excess pita will cause or increase symptoms like heartburn and hyperacidity (stomach pains), ulcers, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart palpitations and diarrhea.
If you are kapha dominant coffee is good for you as it is a stimulant. It will reduce lethargy, depression, low blood pressure; symptoms that kapha is sensitive to. Coffee will give you more energy and it may also help your digestion work better.
What to do if you are pita or vata?
ForeverSunday to the rescue! (sorry, couldn’t resist)
To make coffee more easily digestible for you as vata or pita you can add spices like cinnamon, cardamom or ginger. You can also add milk (full fat, always organic, without additives), or ghee (clarified butter). Clarified butter is more easily digestible than regular butter. If you are vegan you can also use coconut oil.
Try this recipe (one of my current favourites):
Take a cardamom pod and crush it with the flat side of a knife so it opens. Put the whole pod in a cup. (if you don’t have pods you can sprinkle some cardamom powder in your cup) Pour coffee in your cup. Add half a teaspoon of coconut oil and stir. Done!
Another of my favourites:
Whip some coconut milk so it becomes frothy. Pour coffee in your cup. Add the coconut milk froth. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Done!
Article from Foreversunday.org