7 unexpected benefits of quitting caffeine
‘Quit caffeine?’ You may have spat your morning cuppa all over your screen after reading that preposterous suggestion above.
But seriously, we know that you and most other visitors to our blog are seriously interested in looking after their health and feeling at their best.
That’s why the caffeine topic cannot be ignored. We all love a warm brew especially on a cold winter morning, but more and more health-conscious people are drinking less tea, coffee, and high-caffeine drinks these days.
It’s a smart move because too much caffeine can have a negative impact on the body. In this article, we’ll serve up seven unexpected benefits of quitting caffeine (or at least drastically cutting down the amount you consume per day).
We’ll also share some tasty alternatives and prove that you don’t have to feel robbed of your warm mug of comfort each day.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant, which is found in many plants, and widely used in foods and beverages across the world. Coffee is the most potent and most consumed of the bunch.
Caffeine is also synthetically produced in medications and is found in high amounts in energy drinks/pre-workout shots to boost alertness and supply extra workout fuel.
Is Caffeine Bad For You?
We love the smell of coffee and a hot cup of tea as much as the next person, but it basically boils down to one common sense answer: everything in moderation.
Grabbing an oat milk latte on the way to work each morning might be the perfect wake-me-up for you. A cuppa tea after dinner might go down a treat and not do any harm.
The problem occurs when you go overboard with caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, and energy drinks. A mix of the three could easily send your caffeine levels sky high…and result in an energy crash later in the day. What goes up must come down.
Health experts recommend that no more than 400mg of caffeine (roughly three mugs of coffee) is consumed per day, while the limit is half that amount for pregnant women.
What Are The Benefits Of Quitting Caffeine?
#1 Put out the heartburn flames
It has been argued that coffee helps keep you regular by stimulating the movement of muscles in the colon, leading to bowel movements.
However, there are some digestive downsides too. Firstly, coffee and tea are acidic drinks (even more so with sugar and milk added), and can irritate the gut lining in people with sensitive stomachs.
Also, researchers looking closely at the effects of coffee on gastrointestinal function found that it “promotes gastro-esophageal reflux”. This is a common condition where acid from the stomach leaks up into the esophagus, burning the throat and causing heartburn.
By ditching coffee, or at least reducing consumption, you’ll most likely be able to ease uncomfortable heartburn symptoms.
#2 Improve sleep
It makes sense that removing anything that makes you more alert near bedtime will increase your chances of a better sleep.
Not only does reducing your overall level of caffeine help promote more restful sleep, but having a cut-off period is beneficial.
Scientists carried out a study in 2013 where they administered a 400mg dose of caffeine to subjects 0, 3, and 6 hours before sleep.
They concluded that the caffeine had “important disruptive effects on sleep” and recommended that people avoid caffeine consumption for a minimum of six hours before bedtime.
#3 Maintain balanced energy levels
Do you experience a crash in energy levels mid-afternoon after a few cups of coffee earlier in the day? While the drink initially serves up some stimulation, it’s followed by a slump due to chemical reactions in the brain.
This is down to caffeine blocking the chemical adenosine in the brain. The website Balance Coffee explains what happens: “Adenosine is what signals sleepiness – so when the caffeine blocks it, your brain stays awake and alert.
“However, when you’re drinking coffee, your brain doesn’t stop producing adenosine. So, when the caffeine wears off, all of that extra adenosine floods your brain, making you feel even more tired than you were before.”
Another one of the benefits of quitting caffeine is that you’ll be able to maintain more balanced energy levels throughout the day. All through switching to water, or drinking decaffeinated versions of coffee or tea.
#4 Lower blood pressure
Feeling stressed? Has your blood been boiling after a run-of-the-mill argument? Then don’t be reaching for a coffee or cola to chill yourself out.
The NHS has issued warnings around caffeinated drinks impacting blood pressure. In an article listing ways to prevent hypertension, cutting down caffeine was suggested.
It reads: “Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure. If you’re a big fan of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.”
#5 Slow ageing
Collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity. It’s in your bones, blood, muscles, and makes up three quarters of your skin.
As you age, your body’s collagen begins to break down and it becomes more difficult for your body to produce more. This is one of the reasons why collagen is an ingredient in beauty products and various expensive supplements.
You can help slow down that collagen breakdown process by making sure that nothing accelerates it. One study completed in 2014 showed that caffeine interferes with collagen production, “reducing collagen synthesis”, according to scientists.
#6 Avoid migraines…with the right amount
Okay, when it comes to headaches and migraines this is not quite straightforward. Because while too much caffeine has been linked to a throbbing head, one of the main ingredients in many headaches medications is actually caffeine. Confused much?
Health experts in the US went to great lengths to figure out this caffeine contradiction. A study carried out five years ago saw 98 people who were prone to migraines consume caffeinated drinks for six weeks, while keeping a diary of their reactions.
It turned out that the amount consumed was important. A total of 825 migraines were recorded in 4,467 days of observation, with researchers concluding that “high levels of caffeinated beverage intake may be a trigger of migraine headaches”.
Bottom line: if you lower levels of caffeine consumption you’ll reduce your risk of a migraine.
#7 You now have another reason for…
Drinking cold-pressed juices. And this is obviously the biggest benefit of all when ditching/drastically reducing caffeine.
Coffee and gastrointestinal function: facts and fiction. A review.
Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed
NHS: high blood pressure
Influence of caffeine and hyaluronic acid on collagen biosynthesis in human skin fibroblasts