How much thought do we give to the notion that we have to watch caffeine intake? In a world gone mad with heroin overdoses, with marijuana becoming legal for both recreation and medicine (yes, I have a problem with it), not to mention the regular use of alcohol, etc., well … caffeine seems relatively harmless, right? After all, it even has some beneficial properties!
I personally love my coffee, especially with low sugar whipped cream. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, soda, the kola nut, guarana berries, and more. It can be found in supplements and medications. While caffeine must be listed in the ingredients, how often do we check? Are we paying attention to the cumulative effect, not to mention the possible synergistic interactions?
Did you know that you may experience withdrawal symptoms due to caffeine intake? You may get a headache, be tired when you shouldn’t, have more depression and less of a sense of well-being; you may have difficulty concentrating, experience irritability, and have fuzzy thinking.
If you stop ingesting anything containing caffeine, between 12 and 24 hours later you may get these withdrawal symptoms. These can last about a week, give or take a few days.
On the plus side, caffeine may help increase memory, and if mixed with carbohydrates can replace muscle glycogen faster after exercising. Caffeine has a detoxifying effect on the liver. (Ever heard of coffee enemas?! They work!) Caffeine may stimulate hair growth for both men and women. Caffeine may have some protective features in Parkinson’s disease, as well as in Alzheimer’s.
Regardless of the empirically validated pros and cons to ingesting caffeine containing foods and supplements, take note of how your body feels when doing so. This is called mindfulness. Your body talks to you. Be an active listener of … you. Follow the advice your body gives you. It is immeasurably intelligent!
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Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.