Reducing The Buzz

A growing body of evidence touts the benefits of caffeine—moderate coffee drinkers (3-5 cups/day) are less likely to have: type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s. It’s important to note, coffee hasn’t been proven to prevent such health conditions leading us to ask whether other compounds found in coffee are coming into play.

On the other hand, we have all heard about caffeine’s negative effects such as: raising blood pressure & blood sugar, increasing the release of stress chemicals, depleting nutrients, overstimulating the adrenal glands, and interfering with sleep. To this, consideration must be given to the pesticides used to raise the coffee beans as well as the chemicals utilized to process them.

Many individuals depend on coffee to kick start their day as well as to get through it. I know many individuals who are self-medicating in this way. This is not a healthy choice.

The half-life of caffeine is approximately 6 hours in healthy adults. Thus, if you consume 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, six hours later you will still have 150 mg in your system. Along with this, if you drink a second cup of coffee (again with 300 mg of caffeine) two hours after your first one, you will be adding 300 mg to the 200 mg you already have in your body for a new total of 500 mg. Think of the cumulative effect if you drink numerous cups a day. This isn’t taking in account the other caffeinated beverages you may be consuming.

At times, you may wonder how much caffeine is in your coffee. It depends. In a study conducted at the University of South Florida, researchers went to the same local Starbucks over a period of days and ordered a “Grande” (16 ounces) of their Breakfast Blend. Over that time period, the amount of caffeine varied from 250 mg to 564 mg per cup.

If you’re a big coffee or soda drinker, and caffeine is having a negative effect on you, consider eliminating it from your diet. You’ll want to start small by decreasing your consumption each week while increasing your water intake. If you’re “addicted” to caffeine begin by shifting your ratio of caffeinated to decaf.

On the first day of change, drink 100% caffeinated. Then, for the next couple of days, shift to a blend of 75% caffeinated and 25% decaf. Then, switch to a 50/50 mix, etc. Continue this process until you’re drinking 100% decaf (even this has a small amount of caffeine). Now, you can begin your shift to drinking just water. You could also wean yourself off caffeine by switching to black tea then, green, and finally to water.

Ideally, you should work your way up to drinking one-half of your body weight in ounces in water each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water/day.

Again, this small shift can lead to big benefits.

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