Many of us love to start the day with a steaming cup of coffee. Many also enjoy extra cups during the day. Although if you have an occasional cup of coffee you don't need to worry, if you really look at how people consume coffee and soft drinks, you will find that most people consume more than 300 mg per day. One cup is equivalent to a 6-ounce serving, or 180 ml. This would contain between 70-80 mg of caffeine. But most people drink a large cup of coffee that is 12 to 14 ounces and has 160 mg of caffeine per cup. With two to three such cups a day, you will get around 500 mg of caffeine per day.
It is important to know that the effects of caffeine are different for each person. Some people, mostly men, can successfully detoxify 300 mg of caffeine over the course of a day without causing serious harm to the body. While most women are almost certain to experience significant side effects from the same amount of caffeine. For someone under a lot of stress, just one cup can be enough to trigger the negative effects of caffeine. The effects of caffeine will depend on your age, stress level, body weight, gender, and general health. It is also true that caffeine can affect the same person differently at different times. Most of the negative effects of caffeine do not affect occasional use, but some people may experience more than 100 mg of regular use.
Common negative effects of caffeine:
- a headache
- Anxiety that leads to attacks of pain
- Anemia and osteoporosis
- Increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Palpitations, irregular heartbeat and increased risk of heart attacks
- Loss of minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
Let's determine if you are addicted:
- Do you depend on caffeine for your bowel movements?
- Do you have stiffness in your neck, shoulders, and legs?
- Are you suffering from PMS, cramps, and painful lumps in your breasts?
- Do you have frequent mood swings and anxiety?
- Are you suffering from gas and cramps?
- Do you wake up tired?
- Do you have an irregular heartbeat and occasional shortness of breath?
- Do you have cold hands
- Do you have body pain and back pain?
- Do you have stiffness in your joints?
If you have said yes to at least 5 conditions then you should start thinking about reducing your caffeine intake.
A caffeine detox diet that includes a healthy diet with added vitamin and mineral support will relieve your body of caffeine toxins and help you get rid of your addiction.
Spread the detox program over a week or two and gradually reduce your caffeine intake. Start by replacing caffeine with black tea – this contains less caffeine and will help you rejuvenate. Alternatively, try lowering your caffeine intake by drinking water-treated decaffeinated coffee or grain blends or smaller amounts of regular coffee. If you have a headache that occurs frequently during the detox phase, you can occasionally take pain relievers. White willow bark herbal tablets contain a natural salicylate that helps with withdrawal symptoms. During the detox, your diet should be essentially alkaline. Drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water every day. A sip of herbal tea or mineral water is a great way to replace the coffee habit. Baking soda, or preferably potassium bicarbonate tablets, will help make the body more alkaline and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Several grams of additional vitamin C supplementation is a must as it supports the adrenal gland and relieves stress. B-complex vitamins with additional pantothenic acid (250 mg four times a day) and 500 g of vitamin C every four hours are also recommended. These include thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium zinc and the trace elements. Additional fiber and water intake maintain bowel function, which tends to slow down during the withdrawal phase.
The post-detox diet should consist of vegetable salads, soups, vegetables, corn, seaweed, whole grains, soy products, sprouts, and nuts and seeds. You can eat fruit. Reduce your intake of acidic foods like meat, sugar, and refined flour, as well as baked goods including whole grains. If you switch from caffeinated drinks, you can add a number of herbal substitutes for a stimulating and refreshing boost without the ill effects of caffeine. You can drink herbal coffee made from roasted herb roots like hardly any chicory and dandelion. Grain coffee and ginseng root teas are also popular with ex-coffee drinkers. Herbal teas with lemongrass, peppermint, and ginger root are also nutritious alternatives to caffeinated drinks. Remember, habits are not innate, they are learned, everything you learn can be unlearned. After detoxing, avoid using caffeine on a daily basis. If you have an occasional cup of coffee, do so in the late afternoon, which works best with our body's natural cycle.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, nutritionist, founding director of Health Total, with health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune – manages obesity and other health disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131 / + 91 86575 61727
Further information can be found at www.health-total.com