At My Life Tonic we like to suggest making small changes to our daily lives that can make a difference.
Now, like most of us, we enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. It's not about giving up things you enjoy but being aware of what we do. Maybe reducing the amount of caffeine, be it in tea, coffees, fizzy or energy drinks we have, can have a positive impact.
Whilst coffee and tea have positive antioxidant properties, other sources of caffeine, like fizzy or energy drinks or processed are less healthy; with added sugar (natural or processed) as well as preservatives. In this blog, we aim to share considerations as to why it is helpful to be aware of your caffeine intake.
Benefits of reducing your caffeine intake
Lower your blood pressure - reducing your blood pressure means that your heart is working less hard. Caffeine can have the impact of raising your blood pressure a few points.
Sleep better - linking to our previous blogs on the importance of sleep- if reducing caffeine helps you sleep better then it's worth thinking about. Perhaps think about only drinking caffeine in the morning as it can stay in the body for between 4-6 hours. If sleep is your main focus, then you need not have to give up caffeine but be aware when you are drinking it.
Improved mood - if you feel grumpy in the morning before your coffee or tired in the afternoon (when the caffeine is beginning to wear off) - then maybe caffeine is affecting your mood; creating highs and lows. Reducing your dependence on caffeine can help you have a more stable mood.
Reducing anxiety - caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland that can cause increased anxiety. If anxiety is something that affects you, this maybe on step to help the way you are feeling.
Suffer from headaches or migraines? Caffeine can be a trigger for either headaches or migraines. Along with the consideration that if you are dehydrated then this can also increase the onset of headaches or migraines. Feels like a bit of a double whammy doesn't it?
Convenience - caffeine can make you want to go to the bathroom more often as it softens the smooth tissue of the colon - causing it to contract. Less visits to the bathroom can make travelling or meetings more comfortable.
Weight loss - caffeine is rarely taken calorie free - unless you drink black tea or coffee. Whether it's fizzy drinks or coffee with added milk, extra hazelnut or caramel shots (it's hard to keep up with all the different variations that are available1)- it's easy to see where the extra calories are added.
Improved absorbing of nutrients - the tannins in caffeine can reduce the ability of the body to absorb nutrients such as calcium, iron and B vitamins.
Healthier teeth - the acids in caffeine cause the enamel to decay, whilst visually both coffee and tea stain our teeth.
Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes - relating to the above point, reducing the sugar intake will reduce the risk of diabetes.
'Getting the buzz' from caffeine, over time you will need more to get the same feeling - so you may end up having more caffeine with the associated costs, mood swings and anxiety...
The jitters - I certainly remember times when I've had the jitters - both in terms of shaky hands but also jitters in terms of feeling less confident in making good decisions.
Look after your heart - caffeine can make the heart beat with more forceful contractions which can be a concern for those with underlying heart conditions.
Breaking an addiction - caffeine is addictive, so feeling you 'need' it every day to 'work' isn't a great place to be in. Although considered moderately addictive, people can become dependent on it, and any form of dependence isn't great.
Think how much you could save - how many coffees do you buy a day and how much does that cost per month? If cost is an issue, but you want to wean yourself off coffee slowly, are there cheaper ways to enjoy your coffee (make it at home, instant coffee may be just two options). With a cost of living squeeze this factor may become more prominent as a way to help reduce your spend.
If you choose to stop drinking caffeine altogether, you are likely to feel withdrawal symptoms for a few days, such as; headaches, fatigue, irritability or restlessness. None of which should be severe enough to stop you from going about your daily routine.
To reduce the symptoms make sure to stay hydrated, get lots of sleep and wean yourself off caffeine slowly. To boost your energy levels naturally try to do some more exercise and eat nutrient rich foods.
We still enjoy a good cup of coffee, but are conscious to limit the amount we have and are also aware that keeping hydrated, getting good sleep and not allowing 'extra' calories to creep into our diet.
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