Is the Caffeine in Your Cup Ruining Your Health?
Ask anyone that is close to me and they will tell you: Jasmine has been stealing sips of café con leche since she was five years old. While it’s true, my little habit of drinking coffee followed me well into my adult life.
At one point during my college years, I was obsessed with coffee that I aspired to open a coffeehouse to welcome all types of coffee enthusiasts from around the world. While the coffeehouse never materialized, my mind had wandered intellectually somewhere else: my textbooks.
Coffee played a role throughout my life as I began to associate it with feelings. One feeling that stood out was of comfort. It was the cherished moments of being surrounded with the ones I love and the warmth I felt after being subjected to cold wintery weather.
In my studies, I knew the advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee and the idea of having to slow down or letting go of the beverage always seemed harsh. After all, back in college I was a hardcore cafe drinker. To me, it was not unusual to drink 8 to 10 cups a day. Plus, most of my school mates followed the same addictive lifestyle. The common reason was: “that test is going to be too hard and I need to study this, plus this, and that. I got to pull an all-nighter. Good thing there’s coffee!”
As I entered the radiation therapy program in college, I dabbled in some wellness subjects that focused on body chemistry and the way the body naturally assimilates food for nutrient needs. I became more interested as to what caffeine as a stimulant was doing on a bio-molecular level.
I discovered that caffeine reacts with your body depended on the body’s metabolic level. If you are a slow metabolizer, withdrawing from caffeine:
Induces horrible headaches
Consuming too much induces panic attacks
Causes anxiety and jitters, and heart palpitations
But these aren’t the only health issues associated with increased caffeine consumption, there are the other following symptoms:
Increased risk of heart attack
Negative digestive effects
Increased risk of high blood pressure
On the other hand if your metabolism is fast, healthy caffeine consumption may be beneficial to you. There are a multitude of benefits associated with it:
Better memory retention and a healthier brain
Stable insulin levels
Decreased risk of cancer
I suggest intuitively gauging how your body reacts to caffeine. Some experts believed that 3 cups of coffee is the sweet middle to meet and satisfy the craving without undermining your health. But, remain mindful because coffee is not the only item that contains caffeine. There are energy drinks, soft drinks, caffeinated teas, chocolate, and certain medications that have a chock full of sugar and caffeine.
Another issue is our need to totally ignore our body when it is tired and supplement it with drinking more coffee. We have been told by pop culture and old adages to drink a shot of caffeine to boost our energy. However by doing so, it pushes us to exert energy we clearly do not have. We put more stress on our bodies especially our hormones especially the ones deriving from the adrenal glands, hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
We begin to feel fatigue and since caffeine is a stimulant, we satisfy our need to consume cups of it. But the satisfaction is only short-term. During the long term use, it robs us of energy- depleting our reserves. If you are feeling low on energy, depleted, stressed or having difficulty concentrating, perhaps it is time to consider a caffeine detox.
The best way to wean off of the caffeine is to simply cut back on the amount or substitute it with a much lower caffeinated drink like green teas. The last thing you would want to do is a complete “cold-turkey” withdrawal. The horrible headache is nothing to mess with and the temptation to give in to coffee is prominent especially if you have been a chronic drinker.
Another advice is to allow yourself time to wean off of caffeinated coffee completely. It is suggested to allow 3 to 4 weeks to complete the process for the best results. One family practice physician Dr. Elizabeth Bohm has said, “Once I removed it (caffeine), I was able to listen to what my body needed and rest when my body needed to rest.”
If you find yourself heading over to the coffee pot and pouring one too many cups, consider how much of the stimulant you are really consuming. You may to need to do an honest self-assessment check and cut back if you're mindlessly drinking too much!
NCBI. Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and the risk of myocardial infection. 08 Mar 06.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Normal caffeine consumption. Vol. 49. Issue 1. 01 Jan 89.