Yes, Cowan is a fan of coffee. However, “There are ways to optimize your coffee intake to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it without experiencing some of the drawbacks,” she notes.
First things first: “A lot of people will use coffee to help them go to the bathroom, which is a red flag to begin with,” she says. Essentially, you’ll want to make sure that you’re in it for the right reasons. “[Make sure] you’re not using it as a way to promote a natural bodily function,” Cowan adds.
It’s also important to ensure you’re using quality coffee beans. Coffee itself can carry a specific type of mycotoxin (meaning, a toxic chemical product produced by fungi), and it can be very prone to mold contamination depending on how it’s stored—remember, mold thrives in damp, dark environments. “So it’s important to get a coffee source that is third-party tested for mycotoxins.”
Finally, Cowan recommends optimizing the energizing benefits of coffee by combining it with a source of fat—think coconut cream, coconut oil, butter, or ghee. “Something that has a little bit of protein with the fat to help emulsify into the coffee,” she explains. “The fat essentially will bind onto the caffeine because the caffeine’s fat soluble, and it creates a time-release source of caffeine so that you don’t get an immediate peal and then a crash in the afternoon. Instead, you’re adding to that slow, sustained energy that ultimately I think everybody’s looking for when they’re going into their workday.” Not to mention, coffee is a good source of antioxidant polyphenols. So feel free to drink up!