11 Aug I stopped drinking coffee and here’s what happened
Instead of embarking on dry July this year, I decided to give up my beloved daily caffeinated beverage. Will I start drinking it again? Probably not…. here is why.
Just a note: I am not completely caffeine-free and still enjoying a daily cup of earl grey and decaffeinated coffee which contains far less caffeine than my regular cup of coffee.
- Espresso 1 shot = 63mg (I would generally be having 2 – 4 shots per day)
- Decaffeinated coffee = 2 – 5mg
- Black Tea = 47mg
- Green Tea = 25 – 35mg
What does coffee do to our body/brain?
Essentially, the stimulant effect of coffee is caused as it blocks adenosine receptors in the brain causing neural excitation. Adenosine is responsible for slowing down neural activity and promoting rest/sleep. Therefore, when the receptors are blocked there is a release of noradrenaline, dopamine and glutamate (these neurotransmitters increase cognitive arousal, mood, concentration, alertness and arousal).
Caffeine is metabolised by the liver but also by N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) and xanthine oxidase. The metabolism, clearance and elimination of caffeine and its metabolites vary and depend on several factors including metabolic rate, food intake, gastric emptying, liver and cardiovascular disease, infections, smoking and genetics.
After completing my own DNA test I discovered I have a homozygous NAT2 gene. NAT2 codes for phase 2 detoxification enzymes which assist in the breakdown (acetylation) of various dietary and environmental chemicals. Slow acetylators (i.e Me) may be more chemically sensitive to medications and caffeine because of reduced NAT2 enzyme activity.
The Pros of Coffee
Coffee contains caffeine as well as many other phytochemicals that show a protective effect and is the basis of many positive outcomes in:
- Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Cognition enhancing
- Physical and mental performance
- Fat loss
- Increases alertness and wakefulness
The Cons of Coffee
- Coffee consumption can result in nutrient deficiencies, b vitamins and can inhibit iron absorption
- Coffee can increase anxiety and hot flushes
- Coffee can interrupt sleep and contribute to insomnia
- Coffee can increase blood pressure and palpations
How I Gave Up
I decided to go cold turkey and start on the 1st of July. Luckily, the first of July fell on a day off so I could spend the day away from computers and the public. I’d recommend giving up just before the weekend (If you work full time) so you have two days off to deal with any withdrawal symptoms.
I’ve done this before, and I knew what was coming…The first two to three days weren’t as bad as anticipated. I had a mild headache and felt really tired. After day three, I found it easy to continue with no lingering symptoms.
After just two weeks, I really started to feel the difference and I have noticed some huge changes in my physical and mental health. Here’s what changed:
I feel less anxious
I was becoming reliant on anti-anxiety herbs and magnesium to help calm my mind and anxiety. I am now less reactive to stressful situations and feel much calmer in my body and mind.
My quality of sleep has improved
My quality and quantity of sleep have improved greatly. I am falling asleep faster with less ‘overthinking’ about the day or the day ahead. In addition, my quality of sleep has improved and I am waking feeling more refreshed.
After just four weeks, I have noticed
My overall mood has improved.
My digestive function has improved and become more regular. Physical and mental stressors can contribute to poor digestion and bowel irregularity; because there is no time to digest when you are running from that tiger!
What I’m Drinking Instead
- Tea – early grey, herbal 0r rooibos tea (add a dash of nut milk).
- Decaf – I have been using water extracted decaffeinated coffee beans – this is important as some decaf coffee is chemically extracted – always check with your local café or grab a turmeric/matcha latte instead.
Is it time you gave up your daily cup of coffee to get back on top of your health?
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