Caffeine consumption is a huge part of modern culture, and can even form a significant part of a person’s identity (check out Twitter’s #WritingCommunity if you don’t believe me). But what if I told you about all the benefits you could experience if you made the decision to quit your coffee addiction?
Many people rely on caffeine to feel focused and awake, but it also comes with some annoying side effects, including anxiety, headaches and digestive issues. There are many potential health benefits that come with quitting caffeine, including improved sleep and digestion and less anxiety.
Without further ado, here are 20 cool reasons why you should at least consider giving up your Starbucks dependency:
1. Be Free From An Addiction
Have you ever tried quitting caffeine cold-turkey? I’m guessing you got some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, ranging from fatigue and brain fog to a pounding headache.
This is because caffeine is an addictive substance, though just how addictive will depend upon the individual.
Caffeine is at least somewhat addictive for most people, though some would say it’s highly addictive.
Depending upon caffeine just to function or stay awake becomes a vicious cycle.
Becoming dependent upon caffeine changes your brain’s chemistry, which means you become desensitized to its effects. This means you will quickly build up a tolerance, and need more caffeine to achieve the same results.
Quitting caffeine breaks this cycle, so you will no longer need a drug to function normally.
2. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Quitting caffeine can be good for your blood pressure.
Because it acts as a stimulant upon your nervous system, caffeine can raise your blood pressure a few points.
A high intake of 3 to 5 cups a day has also been associated with a stronger risk of heart disease.
3. Improve Sleep Quality
Caffeine has a half-life of about five hours, meaning that your body metabolizes half the amount of caffeine you drank in five hours.
However, the rest of the caffeine can linger in your system for quite a long time. It depends upon the individual, but caffeine can stay in your system for up to 36 hours!
Drinking caffeine too late in the day can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
Those who suffer from insomnia, or who are highly sensitive to caffeine, should consider restricting their caffeine intake to the morning only, or cutting it out altogether.
4. Improve Energy Levels
If you drink caffeine to compensate for a lack of sleep, listen up.
Getting into a regular caffeine habit effectively means you’re running your body on credit. Caffeine only tricks your body into having more energy by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain which promote sleep.
Caffeine also raises your stress levels. It does this by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. This increases your blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn increase inflammation, leaving you feeling tired and miserable.
5. Decrease Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety issues, you may want to lay off the caffeine.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, affecting our adrenal glands and blocking the adenosine receptors in the brain.
So, while downing a cup of coffee may give you a temporary jolt of energy, it’ll not be without accompanying issues such as sweaty palms, nervousness, jitteriness and irritability.
Quitting caffeine makes many people feel calmer and experience lower levels of anxiety.
6. Clearer Thinking
It’s commonly reported by people who have successfully weaned themselves off caffeine that their thoughts are clearer.
So why is this?
Drinking caffeine releases adrenaline, which triggers the “fight or flight” response – our ancient survival mechanism. This puts you into a hyper-aroused state, which sidesteps rational thought in favor of a quick response. This is great if you’re being chased by a lion, but not so good if you find yourself in an argument with a friend or spouse.
When you’re in this state, your emotions rule over your rational brain, which can cause you problems in the long-term, both with effective decision-making in life, and with your relationships with others.
7. Less Headaches
Caffeine is a common cause of headaches. It can trigger headaches directly, or through caffeine withdrawal.
Caffeine is a common migraine trigger and you can also get headaches by consuming too much caffeine.
Headaches are a common side effect of caffeine withdrawal. Anyone who’s been too busy for their morning coffee can testify to this statement!
8. Cut Out Empty Calories
This one depends on how you consume your caffeine. If you drink black coffee with no sugar you can skip over this bit.
Caffeinated beverages add empty calories to our diets.
Sugary drinks are believed to be a driver of obesity. And caffeinated sugary beverages are an issue because the caffeine in them makes you want to consume more of that sugary drink.
Even if you have just one Monster Energy Drink a day, that’s an extra 200 calories you’re consuming through that drink alone.
If you’re more the Starbucks Vanilla Latte type, that’s an extra 250 calories a day.
Caffeine also stimulates the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is a big factor in developing belly fat.
9. Fewer Toilet Breaks
Drinking caffeinated drinks causes us to need to urinate more frequently. In some people they can even cause incontinence, or worsen an existing problem.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases both the amount of urine your bladder produces and the frequency with which you need to urinate. It can also irritate the bladder, causing involuntary contractions which can lead to ‘urge incontinence’ over time.
All of this can be an issue when you’re stuck in an important meeting, watching a film at the cinema or out on a long walk or drive.
So, quitting means you’ll need to use the bathroom less often.
10. Healthy Teeth
Tea and coffee can stain your teeth. This is due to the tannins in these beverages building up on your tooth enamel, which can cause yellow stains to appear over time.
Meanwhile, sugary energy drinks erode your tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay.
So, if you want to keep your teeth pearly white and healthy, consider cutting out these drinks.
11. Improve Your Diet
Many bottled caffeinated drinks contain preservatives that can have negative impacts on our health and are banned in some countries.
Sugar-free energy drinks and fizzy drinks contain artificial sweeteners which can also be bad for our health.
Cutting these ingredients out of your diet could be a helpful step for your long-term wellbeing.
12. Caffeine Will Work Really Well When You Need It
As with any drug, your body will quickly build up a tolerance to caffeine.
If you consume caffeine daily, you’ll find that you soon start feeling like you need it in order to function. Drinking that coffee will help you feel ‘normal’, rather than triggering the euphoric feelings it once did before your tolerance was built up.
A major benefit of quitting caffeine is it allows you to get rid of this dependency and reset your body’s tolerance to the drug. This means that caffeine will work really well on the occasions you need it to, whether it’s rising in the early morning for a long drive to the airport or the epic day of household chores ahead of you.
13. Eliminate The Risk Of Medication Interactions
You probably already know that caffeine is a common ingredient added to painkillers, because it helps them to work more effectively (caffeine in itself does work as a mild painkiller).
However, caffeine can also have bad interactions with some medications, preventing them from working as effectively.
If you quit caffeine, you can eliminate this risk.
14. Be Free Of Jitters
One of the most infamous side-effects of caffeine is the dreaded jitters, or shaky hands. This is especially common if you have had a high caffeine intake.
Severity can vary from person to person. What’s merely annoying for some can be debilitating for others.
If you quit caffeine, you can get your steady hands back.
15. Improve Your Overall Mood
Caffeine causes peaks and troughs in your mood throughout the day. We’ve all been around that person who’s grumpy until they’ve had their morning coffee. Maybe you’re that person!
Then of course there’s the slump that comes once the caffeine starts to wear off, leaving you feeling lethargic.
Quitting caffeine helps to even out these ups and downs. Some people find that they feel overall more cheerful and energetic once they’ve come off caffeine.
Caffeine may also exacerbate symptoms for those who struggle with anxiety or depression.
It should be noted that a study found that higher caffeine intake led to an increased risk of depression in teenagers.
16. Calm Your Heart Rate
Caffeine causes the heart rate and blood pressure to increase. It also causes the heart muscle to contract with more force.
This isn’t a health issue for most people, but it can be a risk for those with underlying heart conditions.
17. Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes
Research has suggested that drinking black coffee without sugar can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
However, drinking coffee with sugar, or other sugary caffeinated beverages, can increase your risk of developing diabetes.
18. A Healthier Digestion
Caffeine can be problematic for your digestive system.
Anyone who’s had an ‘attack of the bowels’ after drinking a strong coffee will know what I’m talking about here.
Caffeine has a laxative effect, stimulating the bowels, which can result in loose stools and even diarrhea.
Caffeine can also contribute to the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
19. Better Nutrient Absorption
Caffeine increases the production of stress hormones in the body, which puts your body in fight-or-flight mode.
This prepares your body for action, which means digestion goes on the back burner, resulting in a hampered digestion and less absorption of important nutrients.
The tannins in caffeine are believed to inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron and B vitamins, along with important minerals like manganese, zinc and copper. It can also increase the excretion of potassium, magnesium, sodium and phosphate.
This is especially true if you have a very high caffeine intake, an imbalanced diet, or are of an older age.
Eliminating caffeine can ensure you’re getting all possible nutrients from your diet.
20. Balance Out Female Hormones
If you’re biologically female, you may especially benefit from living caffeine-free.
A 2012 study found that drinking 200 milligrams (about 2 cups) or more of caffeine a day interfered with estrogen levels in women. It elevated estrogen levels for black and Asian women, and slightly lowered estrogen levels for white women.
This may be of concern if you have an increased risk for health conditions such as endometriosis, breast cancers, and ovarian cancers.
Although there’s no direct link between caffeine and these conditions, high estrogen is correlated with the origins of these conditions.
Caffeine is also known to worsen some premenstrual symptoms, such as anger, anxiety and irritability, especially when drunk on an empty stomach.
It can also worsen menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and anxiety.
So, as you can see, there are lots of potential benefits of quitting caffeine. That being said, you don’t necessarily need to cut caffeine out of your diet entirely. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others, and may benefit more from reducing or quitting caffeine.
Caffeine does have some positive benefits for some people. But if you find that you regularly get troublesome side effects, it might be time to take an honest look at your caffeine consumption, and try cutting down.