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Kick the Caffeine

By: jEnergy - May 14, 2008
Each morning, I wake up, stretch for a minute, chug a glass of water, then hold my coffee mug with a death grip. All the coffee in Columbia won't make me a morning person. I've grown to love its rich flavor and satisfying aroma.

If a cup of coffee or can of cola is the best part of waking up, consider implementing a few alternatives.

Even a small dose of caffeine can affect the body's function. We live in a society that encourages us to turn on our minds and move mountains by 10 am. While the occasional cup of coffee with a friend will not necessarily harm us, a daily caffeine habit can wreak havoc on the body.

Caffeine is a stimulant drug consumed most often in coffee, chocolate, soda, and green and black tea. Some over-the-counter pain relievers even contain caffeine as an active ingredient. It stimulates the central nervous system which increases alertness. While research conducted by the American Heart Association has not found long-term heart health effects from moderate coffee drinking (1-2 cups daily), it has been noted to cause feelings of anxiety, the jitters, insomnia, and mood swings. During a morning without coffee, you may find yourself with a serious headache alongside some very unlucky co-workers.

While current research disagrees on whether its' diuretic effects actually cause dehydration, you may want to steer clear of energy drinks and soda containing caffeine before workouts and on hot days when you are more likely to sweat.

Some studies suggest caffeine may cause the body to lose calcium, resulting in a decrease in bone density and anincreased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

If you decide to join me and kick the habit, start gradually. Begin by slowly decreasing the amount of caffeine in the food and beverages you consume. If you are a daily coffee drinker, consider replacing your first or second cup with green or black tea (which contain lower doses of the drug) and drink smaller portions. Consider mixing caffeine-free peppermint with a little coffee to awaken the senses without the jolt and the jitters. Remember to drink plenty of water to rehydrate the body and jump start your metabolism.

As always, it's a good idea to contact your doctor before making changes to your diet. Not all plans may be appropriate for your body's needs.

About the Submitter

jEnergy

Jennifer is a certified STOTT Pilates instructor and ACE-certified group fitness instructor. With over 10 years experience teaching dance and conditioning, she has worked with all ages, fitness levels, and many special populations. Jennifer continuously refines her knowledge and skills through top-ranked schools such as The Kane School, Stott Pilates, Erika Bloom Pilates Plus, and Real Pilates NYC.



Public Comments

  • By: samlane

    Saturday, May 24, 2008 - 4:12am

    Caffeine has a very bad affect on our psyches, especially if you're sensitive to it. Check out this web page, full of articles by researchers in well respected medical journals on the bad effects of caffeine!
    http://caffeineweb.com/

    If you suffer from anxiety then you *must* give up caffeine if you want to function properly.

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