Wondering how coffee may be affecting you?
Here are some common symptoms associated with coffee consumption that may suggest you’re addicted and need to manage your cravings:
- It takes a cup of coffee for you to fully open your eyes in the morning
- You feel wired but tired
- Outbursts of sudden anger or rage
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Restless sleep
- You feel nervous and not sure why
- Rapid or racing heart beat
- Frequently irritated
- Stomach pains, ulcers and indigestion
The molecular structure of caffeine is very similar to the molecular structure of adenosine which exists naturally in the brain and regulates brain function. The caffeine molecules bind to the same receptors as adenosine and blocks the latter’s function. When we take a sip of this potent little bean, it only takes about 10min for the caffeine to kick in. The effects of caffeine can last up to 3-5 hours depending on how fast our body is able to break it down.
For caffeine lovers and drinkers, may contemplate whether life is worth living without it. Well you may be happy to hear that “a study of 29,000 individuals found that one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups decreased the risk by 60%”. And recent findings show that if you drink one cup of coffee a day, you can reduce your risk of diabetes by 13%. When taken properly, this little bean can be quite a potent medicine.
Unfortunately, caffeine is similar to that of a high interest loan. Boosting brain function doesn’t come without a downfall. Caffeine stimulates a reaction in the body similar to that of stress. When we are under stress, the brain sends a message to our adrenal glands asking for a “loan”. The adrenals produce energy for us even when they may not have it. As a result, we experience a surge of energy, similar to that of a “survival mode”. But unfortunately, what goes up must come down. Caffeine stimulates our adrenals to produce more cortisol and stress hormones giving us a temporary surge of energy that only lasts for 3-5 hours until we need our next dose to get that boost in brain function again.
Regular Coffee Intake
- Decreases the production of good hormones like DHA
- Raises cholesterol
- Decreases bone density
- Raises blood pressure
- Increases inflammation
- Affects sleep
- Lowers libido
- Acidic and dehydrates the body
- Irritates the mucous lining of the digestive tract
- May induce worry and stress
5 Ways To Wontrol Coffee Intake
Monitor your daily intake: Read the labels of all products and foods you are consuming, including over-the-counter medications, energy drinks, chocolates, sweets and teas. Remember to include this caffeine content in your calculated daily intake. What you may only realize to be 2 cups of coffee a day could actually be more like 10 doses of caffeine.
Adapt it to the biological clock: We have a 24-hour biological cycle, known as the circadian clock. When we awake in the morning our cortisol levels naturally peak their highest first thing in the morning. Our brain is flooded with cortisol which naturally helps keep us alert. Its best to let your body adjust to this natural supply of energy by waiting at least an hour or two after you rise in the morning to get your dose of caffeine. A coffee first thing in the morning will drive your adrenals into debt and is responsible for that “caffeine crash” throughout the day. If you can hold off on caffeine for those first couple hours in the early morning, who knows you may be able to even kick your caffeine cravings, permanently.
Consume after a heavy meal: Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can assist in stimulating digestion after a big meal. But, be easy on the dose. A small (European size, not North American small size) cappuccino with milk and sipped slowly is ideal.
Substitute with exercise or yoga: Exercise stimulates a similar reaction to the body as caffeine but with added benefits. Both jogging and yoga release endorphins, increase blood circulation, improve detoxification and increase lung capacity. If you’re struggling to stay awake throughout the day or need an emotional uplift, a yoga class or a brisk 30-minute walk can help stimulate various brain chemicals that will leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
Switch to green tea: Green tea has a beneficial ingredient called Theanine that assists in normalizing anxiety and reducing cortisol surges. Unlike coffee which can make us feel like we’re on an emotional roller coaster, green tea helps stabilize our mood. It is a sustainable and alternative option loaded with antioxidant properties. It improves blood circulation, lowers cholesterol, and even improves memory. Studies also show that green tea may even help reduce the risk of some types of cancers.