Coffee is a bit of an enigma. On one hand, coffee legitimately helps prevent weight gain for a lot of people. But on the other, it can also promote weight gain for some people, increase blood pressure and kill your sleeping patterns.
Believe it or not, caffeine is an addiction, just like any other type of drug. Many of us need the caffeine hit just to function and, in severe cases, suffer headaches and other withdrawal symptoms when we can’t have our cups of Joe.
And, coffee consumption can become a serious problem when we think we NEED a cup just to be able to function. Or, when it affects our wallet. Or how we treat those around us.
The quarantine has given us a unique opportunity to be around our families much more. How is your coffee consumption affecting your relationship with your family and your productivity?
Here is why you should avoid drinking coffee during the quarantine.
You’ll sleep better
Caffeine has been proven to drastically reduce the quality of our sleep. After all, it is a stimulant, and stimulants keep us awake. Within 15 minutes after consumption, caffeine begins taking effect by boosting adrenaline and increasing our heart rate. But, it also sparks insomnia, reduces fine motor functions, causes dizziness and promotes irritability – all of which can take an unnecessary toll on our sleep as well as our families.
Your anxiety will decrease
For some of us, drinking coffee (or specifically, caffeine) is tied to increased levels of anxiety and even panic attacks, often with just 150 mg of caffeine, which is less than the amount of caffeine found in a “Grande” size Starbucks coffee.
Your mood will improve
If you’re one of those people who are grumpy until you drink your morning coffee, then you might be putting undue stress on your family if everyone’s home during the quarantine. Weaning yourself off of coffee might help to improve your mood overall, not to mention prevent signs of depression and irritability, both of which are common symptoms of caffeine consumption.
You might shed calories
Unless you drink your coffee black, then the sugar or cream that you add to your coffee could be packing on a bunch of empty calories to our waistlines – and this is especially true if you drink energy drinks like Monster or Rockstar, many of which have more than 200 calories, each! If you use heavy cream in your coffee, that’ll add around 50 calories. Half-and-half, as well as coffee creamer, will tack on another 20 calories or so into your cups of coffee.
You’ll lose your tolerance for caffeine
The more coffee that we drink, the more desensitized we become to caffeine, which also means the more we’ll need to consume before we feel the hit. The same theory applies to drinking alcohol or virtually any other type of drug or stimulant. Eliminating (or reducing) your coffee consumption means you will begin needing less of it before feeling satisfied. This will give you more control over your intake and a better handle on caffeine’s impact on your body.
Your heart will calm
Stimulants increase your heart rate (and blood pressure), which places more stress on that vital organ. This may not be a serious problem for some people, but for others who have a higher risk of heart conditions, consuming caffeine might not be the best choice.
Your pocketbook might thank you
Granted, making a cup of coffee at home probably won’t set us back too much cash. But once the quarantine is over, many of us will find ourselves back out in the wild. And if you have a habit of grabbing a cup of coffee at a coffee shop every morning, those expenses add up over time. Annually, many of us spend more than $1,200 on coffee at coffee shops, and that includes a relatively conservative average cost of $3.50 per cup.
Instead of drinking coffee during the quarantine, try these alternatives
Exercise. Exercise has all types of benefits, including shrinking our waistlines and improving our overall health, boosting our metabolism so we burn more calories, improving our moods and making us stronger and more fit.
But, exercise also has a way of reducing the effect of caffeine. “Research from the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego,” wrote Caffeine Informer, “found that regular exercise seems to lessen the degree to which caffeine heightens anxiety levels in those prone to anxiety.”
In a study, researchers found that anxiety-prone men more significantly lowered anxiety levels through exercise than they did quiet time.
Instead of coffee, try getting active.
According to Harvard, while both exercise and caffeine offer energy-boosting effects, exercise has longer lasting benefits. From positive effects on our mood and cognition, exercise nearly always improves our heart, mind and appearance.
Try green tea. While green tea does have caffeine, it contains much less (about 25 milligrams per eight ounces of tea vs. more than 100 milligrams in coffee).
And, many green teas are extremely healthy. The tea’s antioxidants help to improve brain function and even promote fat loss through boosting your metabolism. Some studies suggest that green tea can help bad breath and reduce your risk of gum infections.
It may not work for everyone, but give it a try.
Make weaker coffee. If you cannot give up coffee, try making your cups of Joe a bit weaker. Watering it down will reduce the density of caffeine that you’re taking in, but will still give you the taste that you’ve become accustomed to.
Use the quarantine to challenge your habits and improve your life. Consider beginning with your morning cup of coffee, especially if you feel like you cannot function well without the cup. Dependency on a stimulant contains inherent risks, and now might be the time to try weaning yourself off of that dependency.