Your daily coffee fix is a part of your regular, everyday routine. You wake up, shower, get ready for work, and enjoy a cup (or two) during your commute, then have more coffee in the afternoon. While you may feel alert and energized, this habit may be doing you more harm than good.
Despite the widespread popularity of coffee, it has more detrimental effects on your health than many people realize. Here’s what you should be aware of.
The Reality of Your Coffee Addiction
Sure, you could have a worse addiction, but if you’re genuinely trying to optimize your well-being, you must look at all problem areas, including a potential coffee addiction.
Just like some people might use alcohol to curb stress or help them sleep at night, if you’re using coffee to stimulate your mind, improve focus, or get in the right mood in the morning, you might have a coffee addiction.
According to the United Brain Association, caffeine is the most widely used drug globally, and nearly 10% of caffeine users have a “use disorder.” When these individuals stop consuming caffeine, they are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms and have difficulty functioning the way they might if they had their daily dose of coffee.
However, the negative health impact isn’t limited to withdrawal; those who rely on coffee daily can experience various side effects, including gastrointestinal distress, insomnia, and heightened nervousness.
6 Drawbacks of Coffee
If you think your coffee habit is no big deal, take a look at the potential long-term health impacts of using caffeine to stay awake or improve your focus.
You may suffer from chronic mild dehydration if you regularly drink coffee to stay alert while neglecting water. Symptoms of dehydration include tiredness, an inability to focus, a lack of concentration, and headaches — all of which can negatively impact your performance at work. Additionally, coffee is a diuretic, which can further contribute to dehydration.
So if you must sip your daily java, make sure also to drink plenty of water (about 125 ounces for men and 91 ounces for women.)
Drinking too much coffee, especially later in the day, can disrupt your sleep cycle, making falling or staying asleep more difficult. Consequently, you may need to rely on coffee the next day to compensate for the lack of sleep, leading you to a cycle of caffeine reliance.
Combat insomnia by stopping your caffeine intake by 2 pm, or at least seven hours before you plan to go to bed.
3. Energy Crashes
While coffee may give you a sudden, quick boost of energy and mental clarity, a crash usually occurs within five hours of coffee consumption. Crash symptoms can include a lack of focus, extreme fatigue, and irritability; these symptoms are not ideal if you’re trying to be more productive or participate in an important meeting at work.
4. Increased Heart Rate
Excessive caffeine consumption can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular issues. Additionally, caffeine can cause an abnormal heartbeat even after the caffeine is out of your system — sometimes for days after your last cup of coffee!
5. Reduced Nutrient Absorption
Coffee can negatively affect the absorption of vital nutrients, such as calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B. Studies have found that caffeinated beverages can decrease iron absorption by up to 90% and impact how your body stores iron long-term. If you have certain nutrient deficiencies, consider reducing your caffeine consumption to support your health.
6. Decreased Mental Health
Are you feeling stressed? High caffeine intake increases anxiety and restlessness and exacerbates panic attacks because caffeine is a stimulant that stimulates some of your brain’s chemicals. If you’re regularly battling these symptoms, consider using a more natural method to boost energy without the side effects (such as the suggestions below).
How to Maintain Energy and Productivity Without Coffee
Suppose you realize that your dependence on coffee could be better. In that case, there are ways that you can maintain your energy levels and a high level of productivity without consuming a single drop of coffee. Consider these seven natural methods.
1. Maintain a Balanced Diet
To maintain energy levels throughout the day, choose a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, such as almonds, salmon, oatmeal, dark berries, or Greek yogurt. Additionally, make an effort to reduce processed foods and sugar, as these can tank your energy levels.
2. Develop an Exercise Regimen
Regular physical activity can increase your energy levels and endurance by delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues which helps your cardiovascular system operate better. If you struggle to fit workouts into your schedule, consider exercising first thing in the morning or trying some workday exercise hacks.
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3. Prioritize H2O
Don’t overlook the importance of water. Staying adequately hydrated is essential for maintaining energy, mental clarity, and focus. Water impacts your brain functions.
Make drinking enough water a habit by always keeping a water bottle on your desk or setting reminders. Don’t love the taste of plain H20? Try infusing your water with a refreshing squeeze of lemon or cucumber slices. Additionally, eat more water-rich fruits and veggies to increase your water intake.
4. Get High-Quality Sleep
Proper sleep is essential for energy conservation. Prioritize getting eight hours of sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful sleep environment, and practicing good sleep hygiene.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, and yoga can diminish stress, improve sleep, and elevate productivity. Make these mindful sessions a habit by scheduling them or setting daily reminders.
6. Schedule Breaks Throughout Your Day
Regular breaks, whether a brief outdoor walk or taking time away from screens are essential for revitalizing the mind and maintaining optimal productivity. Make it a priority and boost your immune system.
7. Use a Habit Tracker
Breaking a caffeine habit solely through mental effort can be challenging. However, utilizing a habit-tracking tool can significantly improve the process. By leveraging these tools, you can effectively track your progress in building healthy energy-boosting habits (or eliminating your caffeine habit) to keep yourself accountable to your goals.
The Bottom Line
While coffee may be a regular part of your daily routine and provide you with a temporary energy boost, it’s essential to be aware of how it impacts your health. Fortunately, by building healthier habits to boost your energy naturally, you can stay alert and productive without caffeine.
Are you looking to improve your health habits? Get started with our free health assessment to better understand your health and where you could improve.