By Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine
Coming to rely on four or five coffees a day, or an energy drink every afternoon?Here’s how having less caffeine can benefit you and your health. Some healthy substitutes and tips in here too, to make cutting down on caffeine easier.
Afternoon coffee drinkers take note, caffeine has a half-life of around six hours, meaning that six hours after having your coffee, only 50% of it will have been eliminated from your body (your liver doing most of the work). The same goes for energy drinks.
Having one too many nights staring wide-eyed at the ceiling? It may be worth drinking your afternoon latte a little earlier - say at 3 instead of 5pm. Or better yet, stick to one or two coffees in the morning and switch to a cuppa tea in the afternoon so you’re still having something that’s caffeinated, but not as much as coffee. Post lunch, we’re sipping on the new Tea Treats range from Madame Flavour at GoodnessMe Box HQ; I’m loving the Orange-Choc Ceylon for an afternoon pick-me-up.
When it comes to energy drinks, these are worth cutting out all together – Apart from being loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and other funny ingredients, energy drinks tend to be super caffeinated, with one popular variety containing around double the amount of caffeine as a latte, cappuccino or flat white.
Coffee can be an expensive habit, especially when you’re buying several a day. Take an almond milk cappuccino (my go-to); your average one costs $4.00 (Yep!)…Two of these a day comes to $2,920 a year!
I’m not saying to stop buying coffee altogether, BUT to be mindful about whether you’re grabbing a second or third latte out of habit or because you actually want it. I’ve noticed I tend to order a second coffee when I’m out for Sunday brekkie - just to have something while sitting and chatting after eating - only to end up feeling too full and too caffeinated!
We often forget that caffeinated drinks contain calories - unless you have the real deal and drink your coffee black or with a dash of milk. If you’re struggling to lose a few stubborn kilos, cutting down on your coffee or ditching that energy drink habit might be all it takes to kick them.
With milky coffee, two instead of three a day can make quite a difference, as can ordering a regular size rather than a large. If you’re a sugar in your coffee person, try reducing the amount of sugar you add by half for one week, then by another half the following week, until you’re down to none. You’ll probably begin to enjoy the new depth of flavour coffee has and find sweetened coffee too sickly after this.
A cuppa tea is also a much lower in energy alternative (virtually kilojoule free), and with the varieties available today, it’s easy to find one that hits the spot – like Madame Flavour’s Caramel Oolong; Take that caramel latte!
For many of us, caffeine on an empty stomach in particular can be a recipe for an upset stomach, whether that be diarrhoea, bloating, nausea or stomachache.
Love the taste of coffee but not so much the running to the toilet 10 minutes later? Try a cup of dandelion tea instead. Don’t scrunch up your nose before you try it; it tastes surprisingly similar to coffee but is caffeine free and traditionally is used as a digestive tea… Delicious with a dash of milk.
I probably don’t need to tell you this, because if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll know that too much of the stuff and you’ll be all jittery.
A cup of calming herbal tea like chamomile is a much more sensible option and also encourages you to stop, sit, sip and slow down. You’ll probably end up getting more work done too than if you’d had that extra dose of caffeine too.
A word from Madame Flavour: “Fancy a Tea Treat?"
"Me too. So, I’ve created Tea Treats: dessert-inspired leaf teas with sweet bits. Naughty but not, because it’s tea. Just 2 kj per cup. Indulge in Orange-Choc Ceylon with cocoa bean pieces, orange peel and a restrained sprinkling of European dark chocolate drops at morning tea. Delight in light and dreamy Caramel Oolong mid-afternoon and pamper yourself with an after-dinner Mint-Choc Rooibos treat.”
Find out more at www.madameflavour.com_