What would the world be like without double-shot caramel macchiatos or skinny vanilla lattes?
For starters, we’d all be a lot calmer, I believe. Our hormones would be happier, our energy would balance out, and we’d save ourselves the excess calories, too.
It’s been said that caffeine is the most widely abused drug in the world, but many of us are content to be junkies.
A coffee habit may seem fairly innocuous, but caffeine can actually cause hormonal haywire – which means it may be interfering with your sleep, your mood, your weight and your overall health more than you think.
Here are some of the ways caffeine raises hell in your body:
1. It increases cortisol.
Excess cortisol can not only make you irritable, jumpy and anxious all the time, but it can also contribute to that dangerous midsection fat. If your coffee drinks are laced with sugary syrups and milk, you’re compounding the problem even more.
2. It restricts blood flow to the brain.
When your brain isn’t getting enough blood, it can result in premature aging, poor memory and that sense of “brain fog” that makes you feel unfocused and scattered all the time.
3. It ruins your sleep (yes, even if you drink it in the morning).
Even small doses of caffeine – whether in the morning, afternoon or the evening – can prevent a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep further disrupts your hormone balance, and it can also compromise brain health, skin rejuvenation and appetite control
4. It dehydrates you.
Since your brain is 80 percent water, the dehydration that occurs with caffeine intake can cause you to think more slowly or experience brain fog.
5. It’s inflammatory.
Studies have shown that 200 mg of caffeine (about two cups of coffee) raises homocysteine, a biomarker for inflammation and heart disease.
HOW TO REPLACE YOUR CAFFEINE ADDICTION WITH HEALTHY HABITS
Withdrawing from caffeine can cause the dreaded three-day headache, irritability or lethargy, but once you’re over the initial hump, you should feel a lot better.
Here are a few ways to cope:
1. Get “real”energy. Caffeine is what I call fake energy. Substitute fake energy with real energy, like what you get from exercise or a nutritious breakfast.
2. Try alternatives. For many people, the coffee habit is more about having a hot drink fix than the actual caffeine. Try an alternative, like hot water with lemon, organic chocolate tea or Dandy Blend – a tea made from dandelion root that tastes surprisingly similar to coffee.
3. Eat caffeine with food. If you’re going to continue enjoying a little caffeine, be sure to wait until after you have breakfast to enjoy it. This will help your liver to process the caffeine more easily.
If you’re a full-fledged coffee addict and want to quit? Wean off slowly or switch to half-caf or decaf until you can quit altogether (even decaf coffee contains some amount of caffeine).
When you start sleeping better and feeling less irritable, you can almost be sure that your adrenals are in repair mode.
After all, no pumpkin spice latte tastes as good as balanced hormones feel.