Caffeine is commonly consumed through coffee and energy drinks, but it is also available in different foods and beverages. While caffeine can help with concentration and alertness, there is a negative side to it as well, one that impacts the body.
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Impacts of Caffeine on the Body
Caffeine in the body can elevate heart rate and breathing, as well as provide a burst of energy. However, there is such a thing as too much caffeine.
Too much caffeine can cause:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trembling hands
- Inability to sleep
- Frequent trips to the bathroom
When caffeine is regularly consumed for long periods of time, your body can become dependent on it. When this happens, and you stop consuming caffeine, you can experience withdrawal-like symptoms such as:
These symptoms can begin within 24 hours of not consuming caffeine and can last as long as seven days.
There are certain groups of people who have to be careful about their daily intake of caffeine.
- Pregnant Women: High amounts of caffeine can affect a pregnancy and can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and difficult birth.
- Children: Caffeine is present in many different foods. While some caffeine is fine for children, too much can lead to irritability, interrupted sleep, and upset stomachs.
- Athletes: For athletes some organizations classify caffeine as a prohibited substance in high amounts.
Healthy Alternatives to Coffee
For those trying to avoid too much caffeine, there are healthy alternatives to coffee.
The leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are steamed, dried, and ground; this is how the popular matcha is made. It is a healthier alternative to coffee and other tea forms because you’re consuming the entire leaf, not just parts of the plant.
It has been linked to weight loss and a decrease in high blood pressure, and matcha tea is a great source of antioxidants.
Simply add hot water to a cup with 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder and gently whisk until frothy. Matcha does have caffeine, but if prepared properly, it will still have less caffeine than coffee, with added benefits.
Energy patches are small patches that can be applied directly to the skin, which works to absorb the ingredients. They contain healthy, natural vitamins that can help give you a boost of energy without caffeine.
A warm beverage, golden milk is a great healthy alternative to coffee. It is absolutely caffeine-free and includes flavorful spices like vanilla, honey, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric. The drink is a lovely golden color, and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s very simple to prepare. In a saucepan, heat up:
- 1 cup milk
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of black pepper
- Honey, for taste
Stir the mixture so it doesn’t burn, and pour once it’s at your preferred temperature.
Not only is this coffee alternative caffeine-free, but it has a similar rich, delicious taste. For many coffee lovers, it’s the taste that brings them joy, not the caffeine; if anything, the caffeine is an afterthought. Chicory has great benefits for gut health, especially since it is a rich natural source of insulin, and it has the potential to stimulate bile production.
Chicory root is available ground and roasted, so it’s easy and convenient to use. It can be brewed just like regular coffee, and you can even add the same ingredients you would into regular coffee!
Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free drink from South Africa. It is rich in many different antioxidants, and some studies have found it effective at protecting against heart disease. Rooibos tea is sweet and somewhat fruity, and it has a longer steep time than other options.
There are many different delicious options to avoid too much caffeine other than the ones listed above, so do your research and try something new.