Most people cannot go about their day without a steaming cup of coffee. Coffee and tea are among beverages that contain a stimulant called caffeine, which is the substance that keeps drowsiness at bay.
However caffeine is no ordinary stimulant. It is a psychoactive drug that works on your nervous system to keep you lively. And as caffeine is a drug, it is also addictive. Too much of caffeine consumed over a long period of time can lead to a condition called caffeinism, where a person experiences dependency on caffeine along with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms during the period of abstinence.
If you have ever tried abstaining from your daily cup of coffee you might have experienced headaches, drowsiness and fatigue. You may also have noticed that these disagreeable sensations usually start taking effect within 12 to 24 hours of abstinence.
They also last from a period between two to nine days. So as a caffeine addict who is trying to abstain, you would be in for a rather tough time trying to control your caffeine cravings as caffeine addiction is difficult to shake off.
Now you might wonder why anyone would want to abstain from caffeine if doing so is this uncomfortable. The thing is, caffeine is not a nutrient required by your body and can damage it if consumed in excess over long periods of time. Even a small amount of caffeine can wreak havoc with your sleep cycle if you are not used to drinking coffee daily. Not only that, caffeine over-consumption damages your nervous and digestive systems, heart and muscles.
For post-menopausal women it can even result in the painful loss of minerals, mainly calcium, from bones. And children who trade caffeinated sodas for milk are affected even more badly since their developing bodies lose out on essential nutrients while being pumped with caffeine, which makes them hyperactive.
If you wish to avoid falling into such a pit, then cutting down on caffeine is the way to go. Although the best solution would be to quit caffeine altogether, limiting your daily consumption to a reasonable amount might be better at first. The thing to remember is that you must give your body time to adjust to changes that you are inflicting in its normal routine.
Here are some ways to work on reducing your caffeine intake:
1. Take note of the caffeine that is present in the different kinds of food you eat to know what to avoid.
2.Reduce gradually. If you drank five cups of coffee each day, try reducing it to four cups a day for a week, then three, then two and so on. This will let your body get used to lower intake and lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
3. Opt for decaffeinated beverages.
4. Consult your doctor if you need painkillers instead of buying them “over-the-counter” as some of these contain caffeine.
Your health is precious. While it is not mandatory to completely quit caffeine moderation is definitely a must!