Does coffee ease or compound the struggles of people with autism life in an NT world? Well, it depends on what struggles we’re talking about. Studies show that coffee can protect against inflammation and even anxiety, yet so many of us have negative reactions to coffee. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with autistics and a cup of joe.
1) Coffee contains antioxidants called polyphenols which have anti-inflammatory compounds. According to a journal article in “Nature Medicine” by researchers from Stanford University in California, the caffeine found in coffee reduced chronic inflammation. When higher blood levels of caffeine were observed, researchers discovered fewer IL-B molecules, which cause inflammation. Since chronic inflammation and pain are often a co-occuring condition for autistics, due to Hyper-mobility Syndrome or EDS, we may find relief in coffee.
2) The amount of and ingredients added to coffee can affect autistic health. To keep inflammation down, only a single cup of black coffee (or 50mg of caffeine) is recommended. When we add sugar, we are essentially adding an inflammatory, thus robbing coffee of its benefits. In addition to sugar, milk’s saturated fats can wreck havoc on the gut. IBS and stomach pains are common for many autistics, so it’s thought that we might want to consider limiting our sugar and dairy intake.
3) Water cleanses toxins from our body and keeps our joints lubricated, which are both very necessary for fighting inflammation. Even more, proper hydration improves cognitive function. Without it, we are more susceptible to brain fog and overload. However, caffeine is very dehydrating, so remember to drink an extra cup of water for every cup of coffee ingested.
4) Coffee can give us a jolt of energy, which in turn may help us socialize or focus. However, anxiety may also abound. Reducing caffeine intake could lessen anxiety and hyperactivity. On the other hand, a study published in “Neuropharmacology” revealed that the adenosine found in caffeine could promote sleep and decrease seizures and anxiety in autistics. The bottom line: Every autistic is different.