Our society is indulging in caffeine more than ever before. Whether it’s coffee, lattes, matcha drinks, chocolate, teas, or pop, there is typically no shortage of the aforementioned ingredient in our daily routines. Although there have been studies providing evidence drinking moderate amounts of caffeine may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, act as a nootropic (support brain energy/focus), and improve metabolism, there are a tremendous list of reasons why we should reduce our intake or at least take breaks intermittently to reduce dependency.
What does caffeine do in the body?
- Caffeine is absorbed within about 45 minutes after consuming, and peaks in the blood anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours later. However, caffeine can linger in the body many hours after that… It is processed by the liver, and therefore may interact or affect the concentration of other ingredients processed by the liver such as medications/alcohol/birth control.
- Caffeine is a widely consumed pharmacological substance that alters cortisol (stress hormone) responses at rest and in response to various stressors. It has a stimulatory effect it has on the nervous system similar to stimulant medications.
- Caffeine affects absorption of nutrients. If you’re not a caffeine drinker, your body may absorb some nutrients better than those who do partake. The tannins in caffeine can possibly inhibit the absorption of: calcium, iron and b vitamins.
Benefits of going caffeine free:
- Less anxiety- due to less cortisol (stress hormone) stimulation.
- Better sleep- an opportunity for better quality REM sleep that is suppressed with caffeine intake.
- Stable immune health- less cortisol secretion and nutrient depletion to support optimal immune function.
- Regulates blood pressure- a focus on the “rest & digest” nervous system response in contrast to fight or flight nervous system response causes shift from a focus on dilation of blood vessels throughout body to lower blood pressure.
- Improved stool consistency- a focus on the “rest & digest” nervous system response in contrast to fight or flight nervous system response causes shift from erratic stool excretion to proper digestion and bowel movement quality.
- Better mood- Prolonged and overuse of caffeine may cause serotonin levels to become depleted. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression. Irregulated serotonin levels can affect your sleep patterns, your control of pain, and your appetite cravings.
- And much more!
Good quality caffeine free options:
- Foursigmatic mushroom coffee
- LMNT electrolyte powder
- Pique Teas
- Herbal teas
- Decaf coffee
Tips for reducing caffeine:
- Consider an espresso (60mg caffeine/cup) versus drip coffee (100mg caffeine/cup)
- Only allow for one cup of caffeinated beverage per day and limit intake beyond 12pm.
If any of the above symptoms are health issues you are currently struggling with it is always worth evaluating what we are putting in the body and how that is affecting our various organ systems prior supplementing with various treatments/products. A reduction in caffeine consumption can dramatically alter your health path and should be worth investigating. Although you may be worried after reading this that you should never drink caffeine containing products again, I would like to remind you that minimal amounts of caffeine can be beneficial. Having a drink that contains caffeine is fine in moderation but should not be something we require to get us out of bed in the morning, or that affects our biofeedback system so drastically that we have withdrawals when not indulging! It is a stimulating drug and should be used sparingly. Any substance you put in the body will have benefits and/or consequences, and thus we need to respect our bodies to let them work without constant stimulation. Sometimes just by adjusting this aspect of our health routine, we can see tremendous shifts in our health before spending time/money experimenting with other healing options. Give a “caffeine hiatus” a try!