Are you a coffee addict? You’re not alone! If there’s one thing most of us couldn’t give up, it would be our morning cup of joe. However, all of us have different levels of tolerance for coffee, and for many of us, that tolerance has been surpassed. Yet day and day again, you may find yourself reaching for yet another cup just to make it through the day.
What’s the Deal with Coffee?
It’s true that energy drinks, gels, and over-the-counter drugs also contain caffeine and are abused just much as coffee is, however, coffee is addicting for more reasons than the caffeine it contains. Coffee also contains some key nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins and even chromium, a mineral that plays a role in blood sugar regulation. Regular, modest intake of coffee has even been linked to preventing liver cancer, treating mild depression, treating mild constipation, and reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 diabetes. So why in the world would you want to drink less coffee? Because like anything else, too much isn’t necessarily a good thing.
How Much is Too Much?
The maximum daily recommended intake of caffeine is 400 milligrams. One 8-ounce cup of coffee contains around 90 milligrams per cup, give or take (espresso obviously has more). And who really drinks a small 8-ounce cup of coffee anymore? Most of us get around 120-150 milligrams of caffeine with the first big cup we drink each day.
Too much coffee can lead to headaches, nervousness, depression, digestive upset, heartburn, and even chronic mineral loss. If you’re suffering from any of these and are looking to quit coffee, then here are some tips just for you!
8 Effective Ways to Quit Coffee Painlessly:
1. Reduce your intake by 1 cup per day for one month, then go down another cup the next month. If you drink several cups of coffee a day, this will be easier than those drinking only one or two. If you’re only drinking one or two, reduce your intake by half a dose. If you have no negative side effects of one or two cups a day, then assess whether you should quit to begin with.
2. Replace your cup of caffeinated coffee with decaf coffee. For some people, it’s not the caffeine that brings them back for more coffee. It’s the warming feeling of coffee and the good mood vibes it brings. You can still enjoy (and possibly benefit) from drinking coffee by just having decaf instead of regular coffee. While that might seem like cheating, for some people who have to avoid caffeine such as those who are pregnant, it’s enough to not go into withdrawals.
3. Get enough sleep. Let your body use its own stores of natural energy so it doesn’t need to rely on caffeine to get through the day. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night at a minimum. As you withdraw from caffeine, you may find it necessary to tack on an extra hour of sleep each night. Allow yourself the freedom to do so, and give your body the rest it deserves.
4. Look at why you’re using caffeine as a drug and address that issue instead of just covering up the problem. Is it out of stress, habit, low-energy, dieting, or another issue? Work on eliminating the cause of why you are addicted to coffee and you will find it easier to quit coffee.
5. Try matcha green tea. While matcha tea still contains caffeine, it’s low in caffeine compared to coffee and isn’t stimulating in the same way. It’s so rich in the amino acid, L-theanine. L-theanine helps reduce stress and even helps balance blood sugar levels. Matcha also boosts mood and energy, and doesn’t cause insomnia like coffee does. Learn more about how to improve your health with matcha green tea, and remember to buy from a trusted source that produces a high-grade matcha tea. You can add to smoothies, froth it with a whisk in hot water, or brew it just like you would for regular tea in a French press or tea maker.
6. Find New Beverages to Drink That You Enjoy
It’s always helpful to focus on the positive aspect of things when you’re trying to quit an unhealthy habit, so find other drinks you might enjoy to replace coffee. For instance, try smoothies, protein shakes, or warm herbal coffee alternatives instead.
7. Try Roasted Cocoa Beans
I love a roasted cocoa beverage known as Crio Brü and I drink it daily as a way to reduce my intake of caffeine. Roasted coffee beans have no caffeine, sugar, or fat, and they have a warming, smoky flavor and feel just like coffee does. I mix my coffee with 1/2 coffee and 1/2 cocoa beans to cut down on the caffeine intake, and it’s like a sugar-free, low-caffeine mocha that boosts energy levels just like coffee without the intense crash!
8. Reduce Your Intake Of Caffeine in General
Many times people aren’t just addicted to coffee, but all sources of caffeine like black tea, energy drinks, and chocolate. When caffeine leaves your system, you naturally reach for more to pick you back up again. This can lead to coffee addiction more easily, so attempt to reduce your intake of all sources of caffeine, not just coffee. This is a much healthier approach over the long-run and will help you feel better more quickly.
Don’t give up if you really want to quit coffee, and feel free to have a cup on occasion or once per day if you really enjoy it. Black coffee is still a much better choice than soda or other sugary drinks, and it does have some substantial health benefits that make it worth considering in moderate amounts.