18 Apr You Don’t Have To Give Up Your Morning Coffee
You Can KEEP Your Morning Coffee!
Are you a “caffeine addict?” Do you wake up everyday craving your morning coffee? Do you start to want it again right in the middle of the day when fatigue sets in? As time goes on, do you seem to need more and more caffeine to get the same desired effect?
If you’re a fan of caffeine and caffeinated beverages (i.e. preferred customer at Starbucks), I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! I want to discuss the benefits of caffeine, along with some guidelines for including it in your diet.
Note: Before we get ahead of ourselves…I’m talking about the caffeine in coffee. I am in no way suggesting that loading it up with creamers, sugar, or artificial sweeteners is healthy…it isn’t. Keep it simple for the healthiest cup of morning coffee!
SCORE! Increased carbohydrate metabolism?
The stimulant effects of caffeine on the CNS (central nervous system) include increased carbohydrate metabolism, increased fatty acid oxidation, decreased interstitial potassium levels in the muscles, bronchodilation, and increased epinephrine (adrenaline) levels.
This means that your body will more efficiently tap into carbohydrates for energy, you’ll burn off fat more effectively, your muscles will fatigue less quickly, you’ll have a better oxygen uptake, and you’ll experience a boost in physical energy and mental acuity. So you can probably understand why bodybuilders happen to love caffeine as a part of their regular regimen, and frankly, I do too.
Caffeine (in limited amounts) can be a really positive addition to your pre-workout routine. You’ll find yourself being able to perform cardio sessions with greater intensity and attention. Caffeine can naturally be found in coffee and tea, and can also be purchased in supplement forms such as pills or additives. Either options are effective (and cutting back on the coffee or tea may reduce acidity as well as staining on your teeth).
Now it sounds like more would be better right? While the positives of caffeine are definite, they DON’T increase with increased doses. There are also definite side effects which DO increase with increased amounts of caffeine. What are those side effects?
Since caffeine is a diuretic, it can cause dehydration, cramping, increased urination, headache or nausea, and GI issues. In addition, because caffeine is a stimulant, it can create an increase in blood pressure, heart palpitations, the caffeine “jitters” (anxiety, irritability, an inability to focus, restlessness, and even depression), sleeplessness (especially if consumed too late into the day) and awful heartburn.
But how much caffeine?
The key is to figure out your exact caffeine needs before the effects become negative. Two cups a day seems to be the consensus of a “safe” daily amount, but it certainly depends upon the individual. I prefer my caffeine in the form of green tea. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I love green tea (hot or cold) and I have it before every cardio session.
You know your caffeine intake is too high if you experience any of the negative side effects I already mentioned. Unfortunately, you may have to deal with some caffeine withdrawal as you try to bring your daily levels down.
To help prevent withdrawal symptoms and keep your caffeine intake contributing to a positive nutrition and fitness plan, make sure that you’re drinking enough water and staying hydrated.
So if you’re making changes and improvements in your nutrition and fitness, don’t worry! You don’t have to give up that morning cup of Joe (but cutting back on the half & half and sugar is probably a good move).
“Be Happy…Be Healthy…Be Fit!”