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Published on June 22, 2021

Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?
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Waking up groggy, eyes adjusting to the light, everything is a little blurry, you stumble into the kitchen and get your first cup of joe brewin’. The smell hits you first—a nice dark roast perhaps, and then finally, your first sip, ahhhhh . . . You begin the rest of your morning routine and that beautiful, aroma-filled beverage in your cup kick-starts your day.

But have you ever wondered if your morning coffee ritual is actually contributing to anxiety or depression? If so, I got some answers for you in this article

We’ve become a coffee-crazed culture—drinking it for pleasure, to relax, as a treat, drinking it to socialize, and not least of all, for energy. Suffice to say, all that coffee craze can lead to an unhealthy dependency. How else can we keep our energy up, treating ourselves along the way, to accomplish all the things we need and want to get done in life?

So, here’s the lowdown on coffee, anxiety, and depression.

Coffee and Depression

There’s some very interesting research out there about coffee and depression. It turns out that coffee might actually be a protective factor against depression and is even correlated with a reduction in suicide.[1] That’s a pretty amazing finding for coffee lovers and those who deal with depression or suicidality!

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In fact, studies have talked about this very interesting outcome. However, before we get too excited, let’s hit the pause button and clarify a few things. I do say “might” because research is research, and although this gives us some evidence, it’s always important to remember that each of our bodies reacts differently to different environments, circumstances, or substances, and there are a lot of variables at play, so nothing is 100%—but it is a good indicator for sure!

Some of the variables to consider in these studies include the overall lifestyle of subjects and control groups as well as a super important one—whether the coffee they were drinking is caffeinated or decaffeinated as much of the research isn’t clear. So, there’s some more work to be done there, but that’s encouraging!

And that’s not all. Coffee, which is most often connected to unhealthy habits, was taken off the WHO’s list of carcinogenic foods in 2016, a somewhat rare move. The WHO even reports that coffee may protect against cancer of the uterus and liver. And they are not alone, several other, well-known and esteemed organizations, such as The World Cancer Research Fund and the US Department of Health and Human Services, have also declared that coffee consumption in moderation (three to five cups per day) can have positive effects on your health and protect you from various forms of cancer.[2][3]

When it comes to depression, it was found that it may not be only the caffeine at play, as there are other impactful components in coffee. The more notable are chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which have been found to reduce inflammation of nerves which is found to be a factor in the brains of people suffering from depression. More good stuff!

Coffee and Anxiety

The research on coffee and anxiety, however, is not quite as positive for those who suffer from anxiety as it is for those who suffer from depression. And it’s not all that surprising either, but there was something that I did find interesting in all of the reading I did on this subject.

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By and large, it was found that if you don’t suffer from anxiety, coffee will likely not have too much of a negative impact on you when consumed in moderation. However, when caffeine doses increase to more than 400mg per day, symptoms associated with anxiety may appear, such as restlessness, jitteriness, and trouble sleeping. In those who suffer from anxiety, it will take far less to exacerbate their already present symptoms of anxiety—not too surprising.[4]

But anecdotally, there is a lot of documentation about people quitting coffee for a period of time and writing about the impact on their anxiety, which was found to be fairly negligent. So, overall, if you suffer from anxiety, there is a good chance that moderate coffee consumption will not have too much of an impact on your anxiety, though it certainly won’t help it.

How Does Coffee Affect Your Mood?

When it comes to your overall mood, the thing you should think about is how your body responds to caffeine as this is the primary issue for most people—depression or anxiety aside—and our bodies have different sensitivities to caffeine.

Some people can drink espresso right before bed and have no trouble sleeping but for others, it could guarantee a night of restlessness with lots of tossing and turning! And poor sleep contributes to irritability, less resistance to dealing with life stressors as well as other poor health indicators, and hence, lowered mood.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential especially when dealing with chronic anxiety. So, if you fall into this camp, then it might be good for you to moderate your coffee consumption or even just evaluate and assess for yourself to see what the impact might be on a period of time with no caffeine.

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It’s important that you get to know your body and how it reacts to different substances and environments. Running a little experiment on yourself can be a fun way to get to know and understand your body and how you metabolize caffeine.

The Bottom Line on Coffee, Anxiety, and Depression

Overall, the research says that there are potentially a few health benefits when it comes to depression and coffee drinking than on coffee and anxiety—where it is found to have a negative or neutral impact. Furthermore, there is an array of other potentially beneficial health impacts from drinking coffee.[5]

Given all of this various research—some of it very promising (around depression) and some of it not surprising (anxiety)—coffee is not going to eradicate any mental health concerns, though it does not necessarily seem to cause them. The most important thing to consider when thinking about the impact of coffee drinking on your anxiety or depression is that it can aggravate sleep issues, which is a really important piece of your self-care when dealing with depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue for that matter.[6]

Wanna Cut Back on Your Coffee Drinking?

If you are looking to cut back a little on how much coffee you drink or even just run that little experiment on yourself that I was referring to, then you can start with a few simple tips.

1. Cut Back Gradually

Caffeine is a stimulant, and you will likely feel some physiological symptoms, such as a headache, brain fog, and general fatigue. This will last for a day or two, possibly more depending on how much caffeine you have been consuming. Before you start cutting back, it is good to know about how much caffeine you are drinking in a day. That way you can gradually cut back by a beverage each day or so.

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2. Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

Coffee—or caffeine for that matter—is a diuretic, which means that it will naturally dehydrate you, so cutting down will most likely help with dehydration. However, with that said, it is still important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids as that will help minimize the effects of the withdrawal.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

You will naturally feel a little tired when cutting back on caffeine/coffee, make sure you get enough rest, giving your body a chance to adjust and recuperate from the withdrawal.

4. Increase Your Physical Activity

Try to increase your physical activity a little. Physical activity is known to increase mood, which will counter the irritability you may feel when cutting back on your coffee intake.

5. Take Notes

Keep a little log or journal to write down how you are feeling on different days and how much, if any, caffeine you are drinking at various points in your “trial.” Think about your mood, how you feel, how you are sleeping, and possibly how you feel it is impacting your relationships and your daily activities. When you go back to look at your data, you will be able to assess the impact of caffeine and coffee intake more accurately.

Keep in Mind

How much coffee we drink and its impacts vary widely depending on many, many factors. The best bet for you is to know yourself, pay attention to how coffee impacts you, talk to your doctors, and consider your personal life circumstances. Taking all of these steps will help you to make an informed decision for yourself, which will likely change over time.

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Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Meredith Flanagan

Embracing a strengths-based approach to life, passionate about creating opportunity out of adversity.

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals
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Weeknights are wild. There are hobby meetings, sports events, date nights, late-night work calls, kids’ bath time, TV show premiers (of course), and there’s also… dinner?

Trying to cram in making a recipe, eating dinner (let alone enjoying the meal) and cleaning the kitchen in under an hour always seemed like it would take some sort of divine intervention. Well, let me introduce you to the power pressure cooker, aka the game changer.

The power pressure cooker makes the impossible possible. You can create a healthy, balanced meal in under an hour from start to finish. Even decadent dishes such as braised short ribs or whole meals such as salmon with potatoes and broccoli can be enjoyed from start to finish with breeze on a weeknight.

Is there anything easier than throwing your whole meal in one pot and letting the pot do the work? I can’t think of anything. It’s as if you significantly upgraded the already kitchen staple, the crockpot.

Here are some of my favorite power pressure cooker recipes to get dinner on the table under pressure:

1. Ramen Soup

    For those nights when all you need is a big hug, ramen is the perfect dish! High in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic and spinach this 20-minute soup is good for you in every which way.

    This quick ramen is balanced with lean protein from the chicken and soft-boiled eggs, starches from the noodles, and a salty broth that makes you crave more!

    To bump this recipe up even more nutritionally, try doubling the carrot and spinach for extra vitamin power.

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. 4-minute Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes

      What is better than a perfectly balanced meal in just 4 minutes? I can’t think of anything!

      This wonderfully fatty fish blends so well with the super food broccoli and starch of the potatoes that you won’t believe it was done in such a short amount of time!

      Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (aka fish oil) that helps our heart, skin, joints, GI tract, and much more!

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Beef Gyros

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        A warm pita wrapped around freshly made gyros, toppings, and even Tzatziki sauce, oh my! This recipe goes from fridge to plate in under an hour with only 15 minutes of prep time!

        When creating the Tzatziki sauce, be sure to grab plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is naturally higher in protein, adding another nutritional benefit to this great dish! You can also opt for a whole wheat pita to add some extra fiber too!

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Shrimp Boil

          This recipe is perfect for summer beach nights, a classic shrimp boil recipe that you don’t have to spend all day preparing! This recipe is fun finger food to the max! It is delicious, satisfying and tastes the best when served on a picnic table.

          To take this recipe to the next level, adjust the proportions of veggies to protein. By increasing the corn and decreasing the amount of Andouille sausage, you can decrease the total sodium and calories while increasing the fiber and vitamins!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Mexican Quinoa

            The perfect one pot meal with fiber, protein, and lots of flavor! This is a vegetarian and meat-lover dream!

            Quinoa is the perfect substitution for white rice in this classic recipe while complimenting the beans to create a protein filled dish. Plus the addition of all those vegetables creates a meal that is bursting with flavor. Top this Mexican quinoa with fresh avocado to perfectly round it out.

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            6. Lo Mein

              This Lo Mein will stomp any greasy, take-out craving you have without the usual guilt! It is not very often, you can replace a sinful bowl of take-out with something so delicious and easy to make at home!

              Make this Lo Mein in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That’s faster than it takes for the delivery person to show up at the door!

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              7. Whole “Rotisserie” Chicken

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                Everyone knows that the secret to batch cooking is to have a whole chicken cooked to use in various ways throughout the week!

                This recipe makes the most perfectly moist rotisserie chicken that can be used as is, for tacos, for soup, and for sandwiches all week long!

                Tip: keep the bones and scraps to make an amazing chicken stock to have on hand! Cooking the stock longer and at a lower temperature will create a delicious bone broth rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                8. Chicken and Lentil Soup

                  This is the coziest soup around! Rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins, this soup will meet all your cravings!

                  It also couldn’t be easier for a rushed weekday meal, all you have to do is chop and let your power pressure cooker do the work!

                  In just 30 minutes, you will have a warming soup that the whole family can enjoy!

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

                    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t enjoy a good burrito bowl? This veggie bowl is the perfect one-pot meal that is easily customizable!

                    From vegans to meat-lovers, everyone will enjoy this easy, fiber-rich bowl. Add whatever toppings you please to create a burrito bowl that is just as good as a restaurant’s!

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Rice and Beans

                      The classic rice and beans dish is a staple for many reasons. It is full of perfectly complimented proteins, great texture, and balanced seasonings. Now, you can create this filling balanced meal in under an hour! No more pre-soaking those beans!

                      This perfectly seasoned, filling balanced meal will have everyone fighting for another bowl!

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                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Summer Quinoa Salad

                        Your fresh in-season berries were made for this quick salad!

                        Take this nutrient dense salad to a party or serve it as light, summer dinner to have everyone asking for the recipe!

                        The quinoa, fruit, vegetables, and nuts create a dish that is perfectly balanced with all the food groups. You can top this salad with cooked chicken breast or leave it as-is to meet everyone needs!

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          This Minestrone Soup is quick and veggie full making it perfect for any weeknight dinner! It is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin A making it the perfect dinner for the whole family!

                          Tip: Use whole grain noodles to increase the fiber and B vitamins of this tasty dish!

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Lemon Garlic Chicken

                            Make your protein and side dish at the same time with flavorful chicken that the whole family will love! In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful and balanced plate with veggies and protein.

                            This flavorful lemon garlic chicken will give you the protein and excitement to spice up any plate!

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Chicken Fajitas

                              Quick, easy and very few dirty dishes are used to create these fajitas that will rival even your favorite Mexican restaurant!

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                              Feel free to top these with whatever you wish but be sure to include fresh avocado for a bump-up in vitamins and minerals.

                              Tip: If you enjoy sour cream on your fajitas, opt for plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein, lower in calories, and just as tasty!

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Coconut Chicken Curry

                                A big bowl of coconut chicken curry over rice is what dreams are made of! This bright, flavorful dish is full of vegetables and lean protein without the dryness!

                                What can usually take a few hours, create this colorful dish in just 30 minutes with your power pressure cooker!

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cashew Chicken

                                  This take-out classic can be on your plate in just 20-minutes but you can pretend you took hours to create it when everyone asks for the recipe! You can double the green bell pepper to increase the veggies without sacrificing any flavor. Serve this classic over brown rice for extra fiber and minerals.

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Meatloaf

                                    Meatloaf has been a menu staple since sliced bread but never did it only take 20 minutes to make! This recipe includes the meatloaf and the sides to create a one-pot dream. Perfect to serve after long weekdays, this dish is a comforting staple.

                                    And don’t be fooled by the short cooking time, this meatloaf is the best of both worlds- it’s juicy and fast to make!

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    Despite its apparent roots in the crockpot concept, power pressure cooker meals are apt to be much healthier. Without the need for fatty sauces to create flavor and prevent dryness, the power pressure cooker uses the heat generated by the water to cook the food. This leads to more flavor without dryness and overall leaner meals.

                                    The power pressure cooker is the answer for anyone striving for healthy, balanced meals with a crazy weeknight schedule.

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                                    It really can do it all. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll feel great after enjoying healthy, balanced meals while easily juggling all the activities you enjoy!

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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