7 Benefits to Drinking Less Caffeine-Containing Beverages
There are healthy ways to boost your energy without the jittery feeling from caffeine.
Caffeine can affect your mood by making you feel anxious. It can also cause problems with sleep and digestion. Some individuals rely on it so much that they can become irritated if they go too long without drinking caffeine. You may want to reconsider drinking caffeine if you are experiencing some of these common symptoms.
Health benefits from drinking less caffeine can include:
Feeling more relaxed: Caffeine stimulates stress hormones to be released which can make you feel jittery, anxious, and nervous. However, you can avoid these sensations by reducing your caffeine consumption.
Improving sleep: Due to the jittery feeling, caffeine prevents you from feeling tired which can make it hard for some people to fall asleep especially if you are caffeine sensitive or drink it late in the afternoon.
Reducing heartburn: Caffeine relaxes the muscles that keep stomach acid inside your stomach. If those muscles become too relaxed, it can cause or worsen heartburn (also known as acid reflux).
Improving blood pressure levels: Caffeine directly increases blood pressure, so drinking less caffeine can lower your blood pressure and help keep your heart healthy.
If you decide that reducing your caffeine intake would be helpful, it's important to know which foods and drinks contain caffeine. You can find caffeine in many beverages such as coffees, teas, energy drinks, soft drinks and even flavored water. Some food items contain small amounts of caffeine like chocolate, coffee flavored ice cream or yogurt, and other snacks. Look at the front of food products to make sure that items are “caffeine-free” or by checking the ingredients list in the back of the product. Beware that some caffeine-free products may still contain some amount of caffeine.
Here are some easier ways to avoid feeling sluggish and feel energized without consuming caffeine:
Take it slow: If you drink caffeine on a regular basis, you may want to consider slowly decreasing the amount of caffeine you drink in order to avoid headaches and feeling tired.
Avoid skipping meals: Focus on eating a well-balanced diet throughout the day with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein foods. For example, eating whole grain foods provides plenty of B vitamins that help the body convert the food we eat into energy.
Stay Active: Create an exercise routine that will help you stay energized and improve the health of your heart.
Get plenty of sleep: Be sure to get at least 7-9 hours of rest each night which will help you stay more focused throughout the day.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and only drink caffeine-free beverages such as herbal tea or coffee alternatives such as Dandy Blend, Tecchino or Rasa.
These are only some of the health benefits that can occur when you decrease the amount of caffeine you drink. To learn more about how to decrease your caffeine intake while eating a well-balanced diet, click here to set up an appointment with the nutrition team at Bastyr Center for Natural Health or Bastyr University Clinic.
Diego Manjarrez is a Dietetic Intern at Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. He is passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle that starts with balanced whole food nutrition and exercise. His clinical interests include diabetes, adolescent health, weight management, and eating disorders.
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