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I have a problem with it, but I don’t have a problem with it without it.
A lot of us don’t know how to get through the day without the predictable pick-me-up from our favorite beverage. Coffee does not cause problems for most people, but there are still reasons why you might want to stop drinking it. It may make you feel jittery, or it may be that your doctor has told you to give it up. You may have tried to stop drinking coffee but stopped because of the headaches.
Take our quiz to find out if you have a caffeine addiction.
You might think that cutting back on coffee will improve your sense of well-being, since it is relatively benign to consume it in moderation. If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to consider taking a break from coffee and tea. Understanding how caffeine works in your body can help make the process go smoothly for you.
Detoxing from caffeine is hard to do — here’s why
Most adults in the world consume coffee, tea, and sodas on a daily basis, with 90 percent of them consuming caffeine. Coffee and tea have beneficial chemicals in their forms. The body can use these to control its blood sugar.
Coffee does not contribute to these benefits. Coffee works on your central nervous system and therefore affects all organs. Coffee is hard to give up because we can develop strong dependency on it for many reasons.
- Physiological: Caffeine has measurable physical effects on the body by increasing heart rate and respiration, and making us feel “more alive.”
- Psychological: Research shows that caffeine improves concentration and task performance. It can also help people feel more “social” and at ease, and we love to share the caffeine ritual with friends.
- Emotional: Perhaps the strongest aspect of dependency on caffeine is linked to its mood-lifting effects. Every day, we look forward to those treasured, oasis-like moments when we consume caffeine.
Many of us have different patterns with our coffee consumption. Some people drink coffee right before important meetings to help them stay on task, or they drink coffee before they work out. Over time, you may see that you need more to feel the same buzz, or that you feel normal, because of the way you respond to caffeine. If you ignore the desire for coffee, you will get withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and nausea.
These symptoms make it difficult for women to continue consuming caffeine even though they have adverse side effects. If you have decided to cut back on coffee or tea, there are some ways to meet your goal without feeling withdrawal.
The caffeine addiction quiz is about whether or not you should stop drinking coffee.
Some women are able to drink coffee every day. Some people tolerate caffeine well for a long time, only to find that it causes symptoms as they approach menopause. Some people think that taking any amount of caffeine can cause more serious concerns.
Trust your inner guidance and consider the following questions.
1. Do you use caffeine to facilitate a physical activity (waking up, exercising, having a bowel movement, concentrating)?
2. Do you have to have caffeine in the morning? Could you substitute hot water with lemon or herbal tea?
3. Do you crash or have caffeine/sugar cravings in the afternoon/early evening?
4. Do you grow irritable, get a headache, or feel “floaty” or disembodied if you miss your caffeine fix?
5. Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night and waking up refreshed?
6. Do you use caffeine to heighten the effects of other substances, such as nicotine, alcohol or sugar?
7. Do you worry your social routines would suffer if you went caffeine-free?
8. Does a life without caffeine seem impossible to you?
If you answered yes to at least two of the questions, you should look at how to change your attachment to caffeine.
Some groups of women can have problems with moderate caffeine dependency. If you are considering quitting, you may also want to think about it.
- A rapidly growing group of people suffer from adrenal burn-out.
- Good food isn’t enough for them to get enough energy from it.
- It takes more time for you to recover from toxins in your system because your body sees caffeine as a toxin.
Quitting caffeine — slowly and surely
The easiest way to get rid of caffeine is a little at a time, for most women. If you are a coffee drinker, you should start the day with a cup of coffee. For your second serving, pour a cup that is half-regular and half-decaffeinated coffee, though any ratio will work as long as you continue to taper down.
There are some symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine.
You may not be aware of your dependency on caffeine until you miss a cup or try to give it up. There are some common withdrawal symptoms.
- The most common symptom of both overdose and withdrawal is a throbbing, pressure-type headaches.
- Daytime drowsiness
- Inability to focus
- The sense of well-being has been reduced.
If you just want to cut back, hold the step-down process at any point that provides the best balance for you. Every day you can reduce the serving size of each drink and gradually decrease the number of drinks.
As your system adjusts to lower levels, you may notice some symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms peak within two to four days. If you quit cold turkey, most symptoms should disappear in a week. Take regular breaks, drink plenty of water, and get to bed on time if you take a supplement with extra vitamins C and E.
Coffee can be difficult to quit if it’s in over-the-counter and prescriptions drugs, or if it’s associated with smoking and nicotine. Counseling and medical assistance can be helpful in those cases.
Taking away caffeine — add more support
Your body needs to eliminate caffeine from it’s system. During active detox, functional medicine uses supplemental vitamins and minerals to strengthen the liver.
- B vitamins
- Milk thistle
You can reduce extra stress on your liver during caffeine detox by eliminating foods and drinks that contain toxins or allergens. Also, consider an alkaline diet, which is good for your health for many reasons. It can provide minerals and antioxidants that help clear out reactive debris created during detoxification.
Other diet tips for caffeine detox include getting enough protein and dietary fiber because bowel function often slows during caffeine withdrawal. Fiber also promotes good bacterial balance in the digestive tract which helps with nutrient absorption and detoxification.
Alternatives to caffeinated coffee
One of the best ways to cut down on caffeine is to drink a big glass of water or a cup of herbal tea immediately after you wake up. As soon as possible, eat breakfast with some form of meat. If you still want a drink with a lot of energy, then you should have it.
You can check out coffee alternatives. A staple in New Orleans-style coffee is aGrain coffees are made from a variety of ingredients such as almonds, malted barley and chicory. Non-caffeinated teas made from dandelion root, ginger root, comfrey, lemon grass, and red clover are examples.
Life after caffeine: the return of your body’s natural rhythms
If you worry you might lose your edge without caffeine, consider this: your body and mind are not meant to be “on” all day, every day. The body works best when you respect its natural cycles. There’s a time for energetic activity and alertness, and a time for relaxation and rest. That rest period is when your body performs much of its detoxification and repair so you want to make sure it happens regularly.
Allowing for these natural rhythms will reduce your dependency on caffeine and the damaging impact it may be having on your health. Take it easy as you go through your coffee cleanse, you are being good to your body, without adding stress.
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June 9, 2021 was the last updated.