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Surprising Ways Caffeine Has Been Slowly Harming Your Health

Surprising Ways Caffeine Has Been Slowly Harming Your Health

Are you one of those people who can’t start the day without a cup of Joe?

Caffeine is the world’s most used (and often abused) pharmacological drugs and while it does have some positive impact on focus, improving memory and detoxifying the liver, long-term exposure may be doing you more harm than good.

It’s Not Just The Coffee

This would be our main source of caffeine but with the explosion of energy drinks and general soda consumption, especially in diet form, we have exposed ourselves to too much of it and this is where problems arise. Similar to Keeping Up With The Kardashians it seems smart to start limiting our exposure to it..

Here are some of the issues that caffeine can cause with your health:

1. Caffeine Consumption May Raise Blood Pressure

This happened in people who already suffered high blood pressure and those who did not. The American Journal Of Hypertension observed that people with hypertension who were given 250mg of caffeine had elevated blood pressure for 2-3 hours after given the caffeine. This is startling because high blood pressure can lead to severe health effects and immediate problems such as dizziness.

2. Caffeine Can Cause Incontinence

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This comes from the University Of Alabama and it showed that woman who consume a lot of caffeine are 70% more likely to develop incontinence.

3. Doses Of 750mg And Over Can Produce A Reaction Similar To An Anxiety Attack

750mg is around 7 cups of coffee and might seem like a lot to you but there are many people that consume that much on a daily basis. Anxiety-like symptoms can arise in people who don’t suffer from the affliction from consuming caffeine. For those who do suffer from panic attacks and social phobias, their sensitivity to caffeine is increased.

4. Caffeine Negatively Impacts Sleep

Those who don’t regularly consume caffeine will notice greater difficulty in falling asleep than that of others. Those who do regularly consume caffeine still will experience sleep disruptions but might become use to sleeping for shorter periods of time. They get so used to the disruptions that their perception of disturbed sleep becomes harder for them to identify.

Studies show that one strong cup of coffee consumed 30-60 minutes before sleeping can cause restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, increased body movements and a decreased quality of sleep.

5. Coffee Can Cause Heartburn

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In some people, coffee has the ability to relax the sphincter muscles at the lower end of the esophagus. This allows stomach contents to “back up” into the esophagus and this is what we call heartburn. This is a painful condition that limits your ability to enjoy meals!

6. Caffeine Can Cause Rapid Heartbeat

A normal heartbeat is around 60-100 beats per minute. When it starts getting up over 100 beats per minute this is called tachycardia. Other things can contribute to this such as nicotine, stress and anxiety but caffeine is one of the main causes of it.

7. Caffeine Can Cause Indigestion

This is a pretty common occurrence for those who consume caffeine regardless of the source. An upset stomach and indigestion are usually reported from the consumption of caffeine. The condition is aggravated from consuming it on an empty stomach which most people do with coffee.

8. Caffeine Can Lead To Ulcers

Some of those ulcers you have may be from the stress of avoiding Game Of Thrones spoilers but the rest may come from coffee. Caffeine can cause the secretion of both pepsin and acid in the stomach which can agitate already existing ulcers.

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9. Caffeine Can Cause Headaches

This is probably one of the most studied aspects of caffeine. There are some benefits from smaller amounts of caffeine and occasional dosages relieving headaches, but constant intake can cause headaches and lead to migraines. The American Academy Of Neurology cites caffeine as a risk factor for chronic daily headaches.

10. Caffeine May Cause Heart Problems

Irregular heartbeats can be caused in certain individuals with exposure to caffeine. Many times, people with heart disease are told to avoid caffeine altogether but there has been conflicting information regarding this. Research from the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition does observe a reduction in caffeine being beneficial when 5 or more cups are consumed a day.

11. Caffeine Could Reduce Fertility In Women

The University Of Nevada School of Medicine has research that shows that caffeine can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant by 27%. In a world where many women are worried about fertility, knowing about your caffeine intake is essential.

12. Caffeine Aggravates Type 2 Diabetes

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Many people get a compounded problem when they get caffeine from heavily-sugared coffee or energy drinks. Type 2 diabetes can be aggravated by both caffeine and sugar intake.

Wrapping It Up

If you have been a heavy caffeine user this would be a good time to start cutting back. If you are not sure how much you are consuming here’s a quick breakdown of the caffeine content of some popular beverages:

  • Starbucks Coffee (16 fl oz): 320 mg caffeine
  • 5-hour energy (1.93 fl oz): 207 mg caffeine
  • Dunkin Donuts regular (16 fl oz) 203 mg caffeine
  • Starbucks Latte (16 fl oz): 150 mg caffeine
  • Coffee, brewed (8 fl oz): 133 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull Energy Shot (2 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull (8 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Tea (8 fl oz): 53 mg caffeine

According to studies, the best source of caffeine would be the last one, tea. I would aim for loose leaf green tea as it is lightly caffeinated and will also provide you with some helpful antioxidants and even vitamin C. One cup of green tea actually contains more vitamin C than an entire orange.

So limit that caffeine intake, it will help you in the long run and also prevent you from having to be awake through the night where the only thing on television is a Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon.

Honestly I’m not sure which is worse for your health…

Featured photo credit: Kars Alfrink via flickr.com

More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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