reducing caffeine

Day by day, drip by drip, our rates of coffee consumption seem more like a “risk versus reward” proposition. Health analysts constantly spew conflicting reports on whether we’re swilling too much java, or not enough; and the workday ritual of buying even the cheapest cup of joe from the nation’s best-known chain can drain your bank account by almost $800 annually, not including taxes, tips, time and travel expenses to get that caffeine fix.

Fresh new apps entice you to place orders before you even get out of bed, and some startups now dare to propose products that infuse caffeine through “wearable” devices.

If you’re wondering if it’s beneficial to gradually control and reduce your daily coffee intake, the answer is: probably. But, is kicking the caffeine habit quick and easy? Probably not. If more restful sleep at night and less reliance on coffee for a jolt of alertness during the day is your desire, percolate over these stimulating alternatives.

*Consult a personal physician before starting a caffeine-reduction regimen.

SNACK ATTACK

avoiding caffeineSimple dietary changes could help tame your reliance on caffeine boosts during the day. Studies indicate that nibbling on non-fat and unsweetened dark chocolate invigorates blood flow and sends positive stimuli to the brain without residual rise-and-crash effects. Vegetables packed with essential glucosinolate oils (radishes, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard and turnip greens) can be blended into smoothies, omelets, soups and stir fries for a tasty energy lift. Eat more beets, which are packed with the nitric oxide compound that oxygenates the body. Supplement your diet with more of the energizing B12 vitamins available from low-fat proteins (eggs, fish) as well as mushrooms and seaweed extracts.

BOILING POINTS

energizing drinkA fresh cup of coffee can soothe simple cravings for warmth and comfort. As a caffeine-free alternative, just brew a mug full of flavor and freer of the jittery complications. Hot water and lemon – sweetened to taste – helps to rehydrate the body, boost immunity to sickness and promote intestinal regularity. The “chicory” blends sold alongside coffee at grocery stores offer a similar, caffeine-free taste with added benefits of detoxifying internal organs and relieving upset stomachs. And if flavor is what you savor, consider de-caffeinated teas (dandelion, Rooibos) or apple cider for a quick fix.

PUMPING IRONY

exercisingConsider the time it takes to prepare and consume a cup of coffee. Then, compare it to the time it takes to perform 30 push-ups, sit-ups or jumping jacks. A growing body of study suggests that simple exercises conducted during the day have stimulating effects that meet or exceed a caffeine jolt. Physical activity (including safe sex) releases natural endorphins that ease strain on the brain. Research shows that a brief, scheduled nap decreases the need for an abrupt caffeine infusion late in the day as well.