Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in the nuts, seeds, and leaves of several plant species. It is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world in the form of coffee, drinking cola, tea, and chocolate. The effects of caffeine are often complex and sometimes contradictory. Some people do report some benefits while others exhibit adverse effects.
Nonetheless, numerous studies indicate that this substance is generally not appropriate for a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, it is well known to cause user dependence. Quitting caffeine may be quite difficult for some people but it is definitely the recommendable choice. Below is a detailed and comprehensive account on some of the benefits of a caffeine free life.
1. Increased Energy
One of the main reasons people give for including caffeine in their diets is the alertness and psychoactive boost it gives. However, this boost is often misinterpreted as more energy and is short lived. It is actually not an energy boost but a response to stress that results in a temporary lift that is artificial chemical stimulation at best.
Caffeine causes the same response as that of perceived danger or threats. It causes your muscles to tense, increases your heart beat and elevates your blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, the caffeine high is shortly followed by an energy crash and various withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.
For this reason, caffeine intake inadvertently causes chronic fatigue in the long term. Additionally, the more you take caffeine, the more you become resistance to its effects. You eventually end up requiring more and more caffeine to sustain the energy highs. Over time your body becomes unable to rely on its natural energy sources.
Quitting caffeine will reverse these negative effects and provide you with regular natural energy. This will be good news for your weight management goals. You will have the extra energy needed to effectively complete your workouts.
2. Weight Loss
Caffeine intake is usually accompanied by the consumption of other substances that are not healthy. Drinking cola, chocolate, tea and coffee all contain a considerable amount of sugar and/or fats. These are extra calories that you are adding to your daily intake.
Giving up on caffeine means you will reduce your daily calorie intake. Although the exact relationship between caffeine and weight gain is a contentious issue among researchers. However, some studies do indicate that taking large amounts of caffeine leads to your body retaining fat in the cells due to a slowdown in your metabolism.
One such study was conducted at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research. The researchers found out that drinking 6 cups of coffee a day increases one’s chances of developing metabolic syndrome.
Therefore if you seek to avoid gradual weight gain and increase your metabolism you reduce and eventually eliminate caffeinated products from your diet. Also, it will go a long way in reducing your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
3. Better Sleep
While drinking coffee can keep you awake for longer, it negatively affects the quality of your sleep. It does not matter what time of the day you took the coffee. A joint study by Detroit’s Wayne State College of Medicine and Henry Ford Hospital revealed that the deep sleep phases of the sleep cycle are considerably shorten when you consume caffeine within six hours of bedtime. This result in shorter and poor quality sleep.
Lack of proper sleep is associated with chronic fatigue, slow metabolism, lack of energy and weight gain. It is therefore in your fitness goal’s best interests that you adopt a caffeine-free lifestyle. Sleep experts recommend that you reduce the intake gradually in order to lessen the withdrawal effects. You can start by taking it 8 hours before bedtime and increasing this time until you have completely eliminated it.
4. Less Risk of Heart Disease
When you quit caffeine, your chances of developing cardiovascular conditions are greatly reduced. Caffeine is known to increase your blood pressure by enhancing force and rate of your heart contractions. It is also a natural vasoconstrictor and causes the reduction of your blood vessels’ diameters.
Increased blood pressure will negatively impact the overall health of your heart. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main killer lifestyle diseases today. Additionally, abandoning coffee will reduce your stress levels; one of the main factors affecting cardiovascular health.
Caffeine directly stimulates your adrenal cortex resulting in the production of stress hormones such as cortisol. Therefore eliminating caffeine is a wise choice if you seek to reduce your risk of heart problems. A healthier heart means you will be able to exercise more efficiently to improve your fitness.
5. Improved Digestion
The majority of people take caffeine in the form of coffee. Coffee has a high content of certain substances that irritate the inner lining of your digestive tract. It is also acidic.
This leads to a myriad of digestive problems such as heartburn, indigestion, and digestive discomfort. Some people may exhibit several conditions including gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), imbalances in the digestive tract flora and GERD. All these conditions affect your body’s ability to properly absorb vital nutrients.
Studies have shown that coffee causes your body to lose out on calcium, B vitamins especially thiamin, sodium, magnesium, potassium, chloride and zinc. One cup of coffee can reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron from a meal by more than 75 %.
You may be following a proper diet but your health will not benefit fully from it. When you eliminate coffee and caffeine, your digestive tract will be able to recover and process food better. This will provide you with the energy you need to stay committed to any workout regimes you adopt.
There are numerous other benefits of a caffeine free life including but not limited to reduce headaches, controlled hormonal balance, improved tooth health, improved productivity, financial savings, better moods as well as reduced anxiety.
There are several steps that you can take to reduce the withdrawal symptoms including drinking a lot of water, getting enough sleep, focusing on aerobic exercises, taking vitamin C supplements and adopting a balanced diet that incorporated fruits, vegetables, proteins, essential oils and complex carbohydrates in the recommended amounts.