A mother has revealed what happened to her body when she gave up coffee, and the effects she noticed on her physical and mental health.
Olivia White, 30, from Melbourne said she only started drinking coffee seven years ago when she had her first child, but it quickly became her ‘life’ as she said she felt as though she ‘needed it to function’.
‘What I didn’t realise over the years was how much it had an effect on my mental health,’ Olivia wrote on her website. ‘It would set off the physical symptoms of anxiety and inhibited me from sleeping.’
The mum-of-two shared what she has noticed since she ditched caffeine at the beginning of March – including better concentration, improved sleep and reduced anxiety.
A mother has revealed what happened to her body when she gave up coffee, and the effects she noticed on her physical and mental health (Olivia White pictured)
Caffeine can stimulate our ‘fight or flight’ hormones, which may cause an increase in anxiety, nervousness, heart palpitations, and even panic attacks (stock image)
Olivia said that while she always thought coffee was waking her up and helping her to focus, in fact it was doing the opposite.
‘I noticed once I stopped drinking caffeine that I could actually focus my thoughts and apply myself a lot better,’ she said.
This is because caffeine can send your thoughts into ‘overdrive’ – meaning it can be difficult to focus on one task at a time.
The mum-of-two (pictured with her family) shared what she has noticed since she ditched caffeine at the start of March – including better concentration, sleep and reduced anxiety
Slept easier and better
People who rely on caffeine – especially late in the day – often report disrupted and broken sleep.
And Olivia said one of the biggest things she noticed was that she slept better as a result of ditching her coffee.
‘Now I am finding I can fall asleep a lot easier and quicker. I started going to bed earlier and waking earlier as well,’ Olivia said.
This is supported by the nutritionist Jessica Sepel’s ideas, as she always says that you should never drink coffee after 2pm.
‘Skip the afternoon coffee because caffeine can stay in your system for hours and make it difficult to fall asleep,’ Jessica said.
Nutritionist Jessica Sepel (pictured) said you should never drink coffee after 2pm, as it hangs around in your system for hours
What are the benefits of ditching coffee?
1. Lowered anxiety: Caffeine comes with a burst of energy, which is what most of us use it for. However, that energy also stimulates our ‘fight or flight’ hormones. This may cause an increase in anxiety, nervousness, heart palpitations, and even panic attacks.
2. Better sleep: Studies show that daily coffee intake can alter your sleep cycle, causing restless sleep and daytime drowsiness. This can be especially true if you consume caffeine less than six hours before heading to bed.
3. More efficient absorption of nutrients: If you’re not a caffeine drinker, your body may absorb some nutrients better than those who do partake. The tannins in caffeine can possibly inhibit some of the absorption of calcium, iron and B vitamins.
4. Whiter teeth: Coffee stains teeth. Your teeth should be whiter as a result of giving it up.
5. Balanced hormones: Women may especially benefit from going caffeine-free. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda can alter estrogen levels.
6. Lowered blood pressure: Not partaking in caffeine can be good for your blood pressure. Caffeine has been shown to raise blood pressure levels due to the stimulatory effect it has on the nervous system.
7. Balanced brain chemistry: Caffeine can alter brain chemistry in a similar way that drugs like cocaine do, and researchers agree that caffeine does fulfill some of the criteria used to measure drug dependence. People who don’t consume caffeine don’t have to worry about the addictive qualities of it.
8. Fewer headaches: Caffeine withdrawal is a real thing. One of the most common and unpleasant side effects of caffeine withdrawal is headaches. But once you are past this, you should notice you get fewer headaches.
9. A healthy digestion: Caffeine intake can come with a host of unpleasant digestive issues. Coffee creates a laxative effect that stimulates the bowels. Consuming especially large amounts of coffee can cause diarrhea or loose stools.
10. You may age better: If you’re concerned about aging, you may benefit from not consuming caffeine. Caffeine interferes with collagen formation by reducing collagen synethesis in human skin.
‘While it wasn’t the secret to removing my anxiety altogether, ditching caffeine certainly helped reduce the impact on my mind and body,’ Olivia said (pictured with one of her kids)
If you’re someone who feels anxious after drinking too much coffee, then it might be that it has a bad effect on you and is hanging around in your system for longer than you would expect.
‘While it wasn’t the secret to removing my anxiety altogether, ditching caffeine certainly helped reduce the impact it had on my mind and body,’ Olivia said.
‘It helped me to identify my anxiety better as I don’t have that “fuel” of caffeine exacerbating it.’
This is because coffee causes ‘hormonal havoc’, according to Jessica Sepel.
‘Caffeine causes our blood sugar levels to surge quickly which can cause a blood sugar rollercoaster for the rest of the day,’ she said.
‘This means sudden cravings, mood swings, increased appetite and feelings of fatigue.’
If you must drink coffee, the nutritionist said drinking it on a full stomach instead of fasted can help – as this helps to balance out your emotions.
Many report fewer headaches when they give up coffee, and Olivia is no exception.
‘I would often get headaches right behind my eyes at the front of my head, which is apparently from dehydration,’ she said.
‘Since quitting caffeine I find I am hardly getting them and finding that with the replacement of herbal teas I’m much less dehydrated.’
Again, if you want to continue drinking coffee but also get rid of your headaches, it’s recommended that you drink two glasses of water for every cup of coffee.
Olivia (pictured) said she has noticed a few miscellaneous improvements from giving up coffee, including the fact that she no longer gets heart palpitations or sweaty palms
Finally, Olivia said she has noticed a few miscellaneous improvements from giving up coffee, including the fact that she no longer gets heart palpitations or sweaty palms.
‘I also find I can better focus my vision – which is a crazy thing! I didn’t realise it could have this impact!’ she said.
Olivia said she doesn’t think she will return to drinking coffee, and instead now buys chai lattes or herbal teas when she is out with friends or going to a cafe.
‘The changes I have seen have given me enough reason to reduce if not remove it altogether from my diet to help reduce my anxiety,’ she said.
What are Jessica Sepel’s tips for drinking coffee healthily?
* Start your day with warm lemon water before you have any coffee.
* Drink your coffee before noon on a full stomach. She tries to drink hers around 9am.
Jessica Sepel (pictured) shared her tips on drinking coffee healthily, including having just one per day
* Skip the afternoon coffee because caffeine can stay in your system for hours and make it difficult to fall asleep.
* When the craving for your second or third cup comes, opt for a chai tea with almond milk and ground cinnamon, a dandy coffee, green juice or homemade healthy chai latte.
* If you’re craving the pick-me-up you get from coffee, try to eat something nutritious instead.
* Ensure you’re eating enough protein and good fats at each meal to keep your blood sugar balanced. When you don’t eat these macronutrients, you’ll crave pick-me-ups, like caffeine.
* Make sleep a priority. For most people, that means a solid eight hours each night. When you’re well rested, Jessica said you won’t even miss those extra afternoon coffees.
Source: Jessica Sepel