Have you ever heard the term “caffeine will kill ya”? Well it turns out that might not be too far from the truth about the legal, addictive stimulant that so many of us are slave to on a daily basis. While it probably won’t kill you, it certainly can have adverse effects on your mind and body. One thing that most people ask me is, “what can I do to not be so anxious or nervous during the day?” The first thing I ask them is how much caffeine they consume in a day. Caffeine has a horrendous half-life in the body which means it takes a long time for the body to flush out the caffeine that you put into it.
If you drink caffeinated beverages after lunch you will most likely have disrupted sleep and difficulty falling asleep at night.
Furthermore, caffeine can increase the symptoms of anxiety and can increase nervousness. So I would highly caution you to be aware of how much caffeine you are ingesting. Some negative effects include changes in sleep patterns, possible auditory hallucinations, hampering the absorption of some key minerals and vitamins and increase in blood pressure.
My wife was noticing an onset of anxiety attacks at work one month. She had never experienced anxiety before and these rehabilitating attacks were effecting her schedule and mindset. She was curious as to why all of a sudden, these had started after no history of anxiety and traced it to having more caffeine through the day. She stopped her daily caffeinated drink and the anxiety subsided. That simple.
Another misconception that I hear is that people “cannot do decaf”. My response to them is that decaf still has caffeine in it, only not nearly as much as regular. Your body will become adjusted and will still be getting a small amount of caffeine if you make the switch. Over time, I bet you will not even realize the difference! Caffeine is also in some foods, like chocolate, ice cream, energy water, breath fresheners, health store supplements and even some brands of oatmeal. I am not saying that caffeine is all bad, but it’s healthy to regulate your intake and minimize the amount that you put in your body.
If caffeine is not used properly it can have damaging effects on your body.
If you find yourself having large amounts of caffeine and wanting to cut back, do not cut all caffeine cold-turkey. This will send your system into shock. Cut your caffeine in stages to wean yourself off. Just like a drug, it takes a while for your system to regulate itself.
If you are feeling yourself with increased anxiety or nervousness during the week and cannot pinpoint the cause try cutting down or cutting out caffeine to see if that has any effect on what you are feeling. (Also remember that you can switch to decaf or from coffee to tea. Tea still has caffeine but less than coffee. Be mindful of the types of teas as black tea has a larger amount of caffeine than green or white).
The Takeaway: Take a few minutes to count up the milligrams of caffeine you have each day. The FDA says: Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. If you’re having more than that, find ways to make a cut and slim down your intake.
Some people are more affected by caffeine than others. Even if you’re having less than 400mg, you can still have adverse caffeine effects. I’m of the pretense that the less caffeine in your life, the better. Energy is best taken from healthy food.