Day 8: Cut the Caffeine!

tea

This is part of a series of blog posts called “14 Days to a Healthier You”

I don’t have anything against caffeine, per se.  I definitely enjoy a cappucino after lunch sometimes or a cup of green tea with my afternoon snack. But it’s not something to be taken lightly — we should respect the power of caffeine.

As I’m sure you know, caffeine is highly addictive.  Some other potentially negative affects include:

  • Poor quality sleep.  Caffeine can give you energy during the day, but disrupt your sleep cycle at night.
  • Stress and Anxiety. Caffeine raises your heart rate and blood pressure which, among other things, can make you feel more anxious or intensify feelings of stress.
  • Weight gain and cravings.  Caffeine increases your levels of cortisol, your body’s “stress hormone,” which some studies have shown to increase your appetite, intensify your cravings, and promote storage of fat.
  • Low energy. That’s right, you heard me! Sure, caffeine gives you energy for a few hours–but it’s false energy and it actually depletes your body’s saved energy stores, so once it wears off, you’ll be worse off than before.

I’m not saying you should stop cold turkey, but begin to monitor how much coffee/caffeinated tea you’re drinking each day. Also note when you’re drinking it.  Caffeine on an empty stomach is akin to giving your body amphetamines, so do yourself a favor and have it after your breakfast instead of before.

RECOMMENDATION:  Reduce your caffeine consumption by one unit (e.g., cup of tea or coffee; Diet Coke) per day.  For example, if you currently have four cups of coffee and a Red Bull each day, eliminate one of those and see how you do. Also try swapping coffee/sodas for green tea, which is much less caffeinated and can actually be beneficial to your health.

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