Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

For most people around the world, the morning begins with a customary cup of coffee, without which most of us will probably fail to function at our best. People are today drinking more coffee than ever before and this is not even taking into account the other ways of getting caffeine into the system - from energy drinks to matcha lattes, caffeine seems to be present in nearly every second beverage you pick up today. While there are many different benefits of drinking coffee such as a lowered risk of Alzheimer's disease and a faster metabolism, have you ever wondered about what would be the benefits of going caffeine-free? We take a look at some of the health benefits of going caffeine-free, and even at scenarios where certain people should be avoiding caffeine altogether.

8 Health Benefits of Going Caffeine-Free

Better Sleep Quality

Studies have shown that regular consumption of caffeine could very well be affecting your sleep quality. Daily intake of coffee can change the sleep cycle and also cause daytime drowsiness along with restless sleep in the night. This is all the truer if you have coffee less than six hours before going to bed. People who are caffeine-free also find that it takes lesser time to fall asleep and also have a relatively undisturbed night of sleep.

Lower Levels of Anxiety

If you have been feeling extremely anxious recently, then your caffeine intake might be to blame. Caffeine gives the body a burst of energy, which is why most people have it in the first place. However, this burst of energy also stimulates the body's 'fight or flight' impulse to kick in. These fight or flight hormones cause an increase in heart palpitations, anxiety, nervousness, and eventually may lead to panic attacks.

People who are already prone to anxiety and stress will find that caffeine intake increases the severity of their symptoms. Increased caffeine intake also increases the likelihood of depression in adolescents.

Increased Absorption of Nutrients

When you do not drink caffeine, the body is capable of absorbing many nutrients much better than when you regularly consume caffeine. This is because of the presence of tannins in caffeine which is believed to inhibit the absorption of calcium, B vitamins, and iron. This has also been observed in people who are having a very high intake of caffeine or have an imbalanced diet. Even old age can have the same impact on nutrient absorption.

When you go caffeine-free, you are easily able to absorb all the necessary nutrients from your diet, benefitting your health.

Fewer Concerns About Aging

If you are concerned about how you are going to age, then the good news is that going caffeine-free will help you age better. Caffeine is known to interfere with the production of collagen in the body by decreasing the process of collagen synthesis in the skin. Collagen is known to have a direct impact on a person's skin, body, hair, and nails. So by foregoing the morning cup of coffee, you will actually be doing your skin and favor and look forward to aging with lesser wrinkles.

Better Dental Hygiene

Perhaps one of the most visible health benefits of going caffeine-free is on your teeth. Coffee and tea are known to stain your teeth because of the high levels of tannins present in these beverages. Tannins cause discoloration and buildup to occur on the tooth enamel. Furthermore, the high acidity in caffeine-loaded drinks such as soda and coffee also causes the wear and decay of the teeth enamel.

Lower Blood Pressure

Going caffeine-free will be good for managing your blood pressure. This is because caffeine has been shown to increase blood pressure levels because of the stimulatory impact it has on your nervous system. When your intake of coffee increases to four to five cups every day, so does the risk of cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle diseases.

Healthier Digestion

Caffeine consumption is known to cause a lot of negative digestive problems. Coffee has a laxative effect and stimulates the bowels. High intake of coffee is also likely to cause loose stools or diarrhea, and sometimes even incontinence. Caffeine has also been shown to play a role in causing GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Lesser Headaches

Many people suffer from caffeine withdrawal upon leaving coffee. One of the worst side effects of caffeine withdrawal is headaches, though it does not start up immediately. Some of the other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

While you may not start experiencing withdrawal headaches right away, caffeine consumption has been shown to be a big risk factor in developing daily headaches in people who drink at least three to four cups of coffee per day.

Who Should Go Caffeine-Free?

While it is a good idea for everyone to go easy on caffeine, there are certain people who should avoid caffeine altogether. These include:

  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive since caffeine is known to increase the risk of miscarriage and also lowers your fertility.
  • If you are prone to anxiety attacks or depression as caffeine is likely to make their condition worse by exacerbating some types of psychiatric conditions.
  • If you have a digestive or gut condition such as diabetes, gout, acid reflux, or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • If you are taking certain types of prescription medications such as asthma drugs, antidepressants (especially MAOIs), and antibacterial drugs.

Conclusion

Leaving coffee may not sound appealing, there are many alternatives to caffeinated beverages that will help the transition more smooth. While coffee does have its benefits, it is still better to have it in moderation. So instead of having four-five cups of coffee every day, try to bring it down to just one cup in the morning, and maybe one cup in the evenings.

However, make sure you avoid consuming caffeinated beverages at least six hours before going to bed so that it does not interfere with your sleep. You may experience some withdrawal symptoms in the beginning, but with time these will also disappear and you will start experiencing the benefits of going caffeine-free.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 6, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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