Back in August of 2015, months before my MCAD diagnosis, I wrote a post all about the health benefits of coffee over on my housewife blog. It’s fun to go back, like a time machine, to see stuff I wrote before I knew what mast cells even were.
Back when I was blissfully ignorant, yet really, really sick. Sick and desperate!!
Keep in mind, I researched and wrote this at a time when I was just starting to connect my diet with my endometriosis (which has completely resolved since getting off triggers and on mast cell meds!) and I haven’t fully investigated the science behind the claims that coffee is high in histamine.
All I know is it doesn’t trigger my mast cells to react and it definitely helps my POTS symptoms but when it comes to this disease we are all so different, so YMMV.
Here’s an excerpt from the original post (you can click the link up in the first paragraph to read the whole post). Just replace “endometriosis” with “mast cell disease” and it applies pretty well:
…but now, knowing what I know about my apparent allergy to all things containing estrogen, I decided it was time to do a little research.
My first concern in learning more, of course, was is coffee estrogenic?
I kind of already knew, since it doesn’t make me break out in hives like everything else with estrogen in it seems to do but still, the answer actually surprised me:
Asian women who consumed an average of 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day — the equivalent of roughly two cups of coffee — had elevated estrogen levels when compared to women who consumed less, according to a study of reproductive age women by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
However, white women who consumed 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day had slightly lower estrogen levels than women who consumed less. Black women who consumed 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day were found to have elevated estrogen levels, but this result was not statistically significant.
So coffee lowers my estrogen levels?
Ah, but it gets better. I already knew that caffeine is a diuretic, which helps alleviate the swelling I get, and it also treats the chronic fatigue that endo brings and acts as a pain killer, too, which already technically makes coffee a medicine for my endometriosis.
Coffee could prove to be a powerful medicine for bowel cancer patients. A study found the disease was almost half as likely to return in men and women who drank at least four or five mugs a day. It is thought the caffeine cuts inflammation which the cancer feeds on.
The research, from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, found that consuming around 460mg of caffeine a day cut the odds of bowel cancer coming back by 42 per cent. It also made people 33 per cent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause. Smaller amounts of caffeine brought lower benefits.
A mug of instant coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine and an espresso, the base for many High Street coffees, 80mg.
Here are a few other of coffee’s health benefits that I was pleasantly surprised to see written down in black and white from Harvard, which makes it official for me:
Alzheimer’s disease Human and animal studies show hints of protection. Some preliminary evidence suggests activity against beta-amyloid plaque that may have a causative role in Alzheimer’s. Cancer Studies suggest a lower risk for some cancers (endometrial, aggressive prostate, estrogen-negative breast), but not others (esophageal). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances could be responsible for possible anticancer activity. Diabetes Effects on insulin and blood sugar levels that would promote diabetes seem to be temporary. Regular use is associated with lower risk, and high intake (3–6 cups a day) seems to have a greater effect. Protection may come from increases in the hormone adiponectin and other factors that affect insulin and blood sugar levels. Heart attack Coffee drinking increases some factors (homocysteine) associated with higher risk. But moderate consumption (1–3 cups a day) has been linked to a small decrease in risk. The evidence for a possible protective effect is stronger for women. Liver disease Coffee drinking is associated with lower levels of enzymes that indicate liver damage and inflammation. Coffee may improve response to some treatments for hepatitis C. Findings suggest some protection against liver cancer. Cafestol and kahweol, substances found in unfiltered coffee, may be responsible for liver benefits. Parkinson’s disease Studies show a moderate (25%) decrease in risk for coffee drinkers. The effect is less in women. Research has found evidence of activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s. Stroke Moderate consumption (3–4 cups a day) is associated with lower risk. But chance of a stroke may increase immediately after intake, particularly among infrequent consumers.
I’ll do some more research and post in the future about coffee and the histamine connection. I just thought this was interesting!
What about you? Do you have mast cell disease and tolerate coffee? Does it trigger you?? I’d love to hear from you! You can email me using the email address in the Contact Me link in the dropdown on the About tab at the top of the page.
xo Michelle Dellene