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Breaking up with caffeine

If you're a coffee drinker, going one day without your cup of Joe can send you into panic mode, but there are several benefits to slowing down on the caffeine consumption. Though the effects can vary from person to person, more than 500-600 mg of caffeine can lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. We're analyzing why and how you should put a stop to this everyday stimulant. 

Adults know not to give kids too much caffeine, in case they're jumping off the walls. But the lines seem to get blurred when it comes to their own diets. While reactions may vary, ingesting upwards of 400 to 500 ml of caffeine per day (that’s about three to four cups of coffee, six cups of tea, or 10 cans of soda), can have the body spiraling downwards for as much as seven to 10 days. 

"Caffeine is a drug, not consuming it can result in drowsiness, headaches, irritability, anxiety and trouble sleeping, to name a few. The best way is to wean yourself off gradually," said Dr. Iskra Galic, psychologist at The Dubin Clinic. Instead of quitting cold turkey, try trimming your intake just a bit. Drink just half a cup of tea at a time—or mix regular coffee with decaf. 

Though coffee and sodas are loved for their taste, the great draw of these caffeinated drinks is the instant energy jolt. Caffeine is a stimulant that activates the central nervous system. It fights fatigue while increasing focus and concentration. So how do you let go of such great benefits? Try supplementing with other natural vitamins like B6 and B12. B vitamins help convert dietary energy into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the form of energy that your body uses, in a series of complex chemical reactions carried out by the mitochondria in cells.

In many cases, not only is the caffeine an addiction, but the act of drinking a hot coffee before work or a cold soda during lunch has become habitual. If breaking your routine is hard, try replacing your drinks with ones that have organic boosters and natural sweeteners like fruit.
There are also more aggressive treatments to kicking your mocha latte vice. Direct Neurofeedback is an extremely low-strength electromagnetic current that can improve the sense of well being associated with diminished anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction. "If you’d like to minimize the effects of anxiety, poor concentration and sleep disturbances, Direct Neurofeedback helps reset the nervous system to its optimal functioning, thus, minimizing the negative effects of the caffeine withdrawal," said Galic. 

It should also be noted that caffeinated drinks are usually laden with sugar, adding an average of 200 calories to most common beverages. Cutting ties with your frappuccino can have you slimming down in just a few days. You may also notice a calmer, less irritated stomach, as coffee is very acidic, and can often cause extra runs to the bathroom.

Check out this article about healthy hot drinks for cold winter nights.

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