Caffeine – how much is too much

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to how I’ve been feeling lately.  One of the things I’ve been taking into account is my caffeine intake.  I typically drink only one cup of coffee a day, but sometimes, I feel like I need two.  Recently, though, I’ve been asking myself, how much is too much?

Today, I read an article in Prevention Magazine on this exact topic.  It was an article from an older edition, but the information is still good.  The article indicated caffeine is one of the world’s most popular drugs.  Yes, that’s right…DRUGS!  I’ve never seen it put that way and it shocked me.  Kind of eye opening, really.  Caffeine once in your body, it blocks brain receptors for certain molecules that impact the feeling of being tired.  Imagine a defensive football player as the caffeine and an offensive football player is the molecule you need?!  The visual really helped me understand what coffee actually does once you ingest it.

So what do you do?  Quit caffeine cold turkey?  It’s hard to do this because you may experience withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, fatigue and cloudy thinking.  This withdrawal is so common that it’s even considered a diagnosis in the psychology field.  If it’s so common that a diagnosis had to be created, that’s enough for me to understand that many people in this world may be addicted to caffeine and not even know it.

And yes, caffeine can have it’s benefits.  Evidences suggests that coffee may help with diabetes, lower the risk of stroke and improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  It can even reduce the possibility of developing Parkinson’s disease.  But are these benefits enough for me to say I should keep drinking coffee?  I’m not so sure.

For me, I think it’s addictive.  I know I love the taste of coffee so that’s why I tell myself it’s ok to have 1-2 cups per day.  But at the same time, I’ve been having anxiety attacks and haven’t been able to sleep well.  These are a few symptoms that too much caffeine can cause.  For me, I think avoiding coffee all together is better.  What I think may be there to help me swap out my morning beverage is green tea.

Green tea is typically lower in caffeine that coffee per cup but has health perks that are actually good for you.  It helps with cancer prevention, has metabolic benefits, has antioxidants and can even calm the mind and body.  However, I do think changing it up will be a little difficult.  That flavor just won’t be the same.

If you’re going to stick with coffee, go for an organic or fair trade version and limit yourself to one cup per day, but no more than two cups.  If you’re going to switch, ween yourself off.  Go slow and take it day by day.  If you need an extra help with the change, grab a piece of dark chocolate with at least 705 cacao.  If you can get through a few days, you’re more likely to give up the coffee.  I’ve even heard changing to hot water with lemon is a great option too…if you’re not into the green tea.

Let me know if you have gotten rid of the coffee and how you’ve done it.

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