Spilling the Beans on Caffeine: How Much Coffee Is Too Much & Natural Caffeine Alternatives by 30Seconds Health
Coffee has always been a big part of our daily lives. It helps us to wake up, and to keep us going throughout the day. The coronavirus pandemic has only deepened our relationship with coffee. In fact, 60 percent of Americans consider coffee more important than water, making it the most popular drink in the country.
All the extra time at home has given us an opportunity to be experimental with our coffee, or recreate our coffee shop favorites – some people have even bought their own machines. But despite your love for coffee, you might not have thought about what else it does to you aside from waking you up.
Spilling the Beans on Caffeine
Coffee contains the natural stimulant caffeine. It wakes up the brain by blocking the effects of adenosine, which has the opposite effect of relaxing it. The problem is that your body (your brain) becomes tolerant to the effects of caffeine – the higher your tolerance, the bigger caffeine dosage you'll need to become stimulated. But aside from waking you up and you eventually building a tolerance for caffeine, there are benefits and risks when drinking coffee.
The Benefits of Coffee
Drinking coffee daily may lower your risk of certain conditions, according to the health guides on SymptomFind. One of their articles notes that this includes type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, strokes and even cancer. However, researchers are still determining why study after study shows positive results with coffee consumption and chronic illness. That being said, caffeine is full of antioxidants, which help the body fight off harmful chemicals that cause diseases. They’re also connected with many health benefits, including boosting the immune system.
The Risks of Coffee
Scientific research website Science Daily reports that if you consume a moderate amount of coffee per day, that it is safe. However, drinking too much can result in an increased risk of osteoarthritis, joint disease and obesity. It can also cause immediate problems such as insomnia, anxiousness and acid reflux. The recommended daily caffeine dose for healthy adults is 400 mg. And instead of just counting the cups of coffee you drink, you should also consider the type you’re drinking. Eight ounces of French press coffee has an average of 108 mg of caffeine, while 8 ounces of Turkish coffee can contain an average 200 mg.
Other Ways to Boost Your Energy
If you want to cut back on coffee or caffeine, there are healthier alternatives to getting energized. Here are some of them:
- Drink chicory root coffee. If you’re someone who drinks coffee for the taste, or coffee has been so ingrained in your life you can’t imagine letting go of it, chicory root coffee can help you cut back on your consumption. Chicory is a caffeine-free herb that gives you a coffee-like experience without turning to decaf. Its flavor is very similar to regular coffee, and it’s generally much cheaper, too. To prepare, you’ll just need to roast and cut up the chicory root, then steep in water or brew like regular coffee. Afterward, you can add milk and a sweetener of your choice.
- Stay hydrated – with water. This sounds too simple to be true. However, even mild dehydration can greatly affect your mood and energy. You can experience headaches, fatigue and sluggishness. A glass of water can wake you up in about 30 minutes. Aside from the typical tap water, you can also opt for coconut water, sparkling water or lemon water to give your hydration some flavor.
- Nourish yourself. Similar to water, this may be too obvious to be true. This does not mean eating anything that you happen to be craving or have nearby. Sweets may give you energy from sugar, but they are not healthy and only lead to an energy crash later on. To avoid this, Alysa Bajenaru suggests snacking on nuts, berries and fruits for natural carbs, protein and sugar that will make your energy last longer.
It may be difficult to cut back on coffee, but finding alternatives means you can reap the benefits of the caffeine without overdoing it.