Run on your own fuel
By: Robin Reichert
The morning cup of coffee (or two) is a ritual that millions of Americans enjoy. Coffee is not only a morning pick-me-up, but also a social event. For some, energy drinks or soda have replaced coffee as the drink of choice. The one thing that they have in common is caffeine. Caffeine has some health benefits, but there are risks as well. If you are having trouble sleeping, often feel jittery or anxious, maybe it’s time to kick the caffeine habit and run on your own fuel instead of the caffeine boost.
Caffeine Health Benefits
Caffeine may help reduce the risk of type 3 diabetes and liver conditions, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer and cardiovascular disease. Proponents of coffee and other caffeinated drinks claim that caffeine improves memory, protects against muscle spasms, protects against Alzheimer’s, and even stimulates hair growth in balding people. While there is little evidence to support such fantastic claims about the health benefits of caffeine, it is true that caffeine does increase alertness and may help improve memory to a degree. Caffeine has also demonstrated health benefits for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Energy drinks are quite popular with everyone from office workers to athletes. Energy drinks rely primarily on large amounts of caffeine, typically the same amount as 2 cups of coffee, in a small container along with a variety of other ingredients to produce the boost that is so popular.
Harmful Effects of Caffeine
Too much caffeine can cause shaking hands, sleeplessness, feelings of anxiety, and feeling restless. Whether there are other more harmful health effects of caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, or soda is not clear. A few studies have linked consuming large amounts of coffee with an increased risk of early death. However, some people who drink large amounts of coffee, more than four cups each day, also engage in other risky behaviors, such as smoking and lack of exercise, which also contribute to an increase risk of early death. Caffeine from energy drinks and coffee does contribute to increased blood pressure. Caffeine can also exacerbate the painful effects of gout.
One of the most common effects of too much caffeine is sleeplessness. Caffeine is a stimulant and as such causes elevated heart rate, greater alertness, and increased blood pressure. Your body needs time to metabolize the caffeine you consume. If you drink caffeinated drinks and energy drinks, avoid drinking them within 5 to 6 hours of your regular bedtime. The stimulant effects of caffeine can also exacerbate anxiety levels, which can also contribute to sleepless nights.
Break the Caffeine Habit
Sudden elimination of caffeine from your daily routine can cause discomfort. Headaches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating are just a few of the effects sudden removal of caffeine from your routine.
Gradual Reduction – If you normally drink three to four cups of coffee or consume two energy drinks per day, cut out one cup of coffee or drink only one and one-half energy drinks for the first few days. Reduce by one cup of coffee or another one-half energy drink so that you are drinking only two to three cups of coffee or one energy drink for the next week. Continue reducing your caffeine intake until you no longer need coffee or energy drinks.
Substitution – At the times of day that you would normally consume coffee or energy drink substitute bottled, warm water with lemon, decaffeinated coffee or tea or another beverage of choice. You’ll still have your ritual, yet what you are drinking will not be caffeine based.
Natural Energy – Focus on foods and drinks that provide natural energy. Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables consumed in their natural form or as a part of a protein shake or smoothie are a great way to keep your energy level up while fueling your body with vitamins and minerals.
You can kick the caffeine habit and start running on your own fuel.