Complications of Coffee – A Habit Worth Kicking

cofee girlTurkish, espresso or instant. The Middle East loves its coffee. The excitement of a good cup of coffee is familiar, but what other more negative effects are there?

Does your day only start when you have had that big cup of steaming coffee? Is that big cup of coffee only the first in a long line of coffees without which you cant make it through your stressful day? We put ourselves through a lot of stress, so why would you put more pressure on your body by drinking endless cups of coffee?

When it comes to addictions, coffee is usually not the first thought (cigarettes, perhaps), we tend to think of drugs or alcohol as the only harmful addictions. However, if you can’t drag yourself through your day without a cup of coffee then you have a problem.

The caffeine in coffee is what gives you a boost of energy that can last several hours, but after the caffeine has worn off, you find yourself needing another boost, and then another. This boost can take the form of another cup of coffee, or possibly a sugary snack. Either way, it is not a healthy option.

surfer on board riding wave imageAdrenaline is great when it comes to pushing your physical limits, but it is not needed in everyday life.

The boost of energy comes in the form of adrenaline rushing through your body. It is this rush that athletes use to push themselves towards a finish line, so you have to ask yourself how healthy is it to have adrenaline coursing through you while you sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen?

The caffeine in coffee is a vaso-dilator; it encourages blood out of the circulatory system into the body tissues and it is this that makes it a stimulant. The veins then re-constrict which leaves too much blood in the tissues, straining the blood system. The vascular system then needs to work that much harder to avoid edema (often seen as swelling of the ankles).

You can also see the stress on the body in your hands, when the veins pop out. In summer, especially in the sweltering heat of the Middle East, this happens frequently for a very different reason. The veins stand out, closer to the surface of the skin in an attempt to cool the body down.

You can test to see if your veins are popping as a result of heat, or caffeine, try holding your hands over your head for 20 seconds. If the swelling goes down then it was caused by heat, but if not then you have a caffeine issue.

A pick me up

Extra stress is something that you definitely want to avoid (follow this link on ways to reduce it), so cutting down on caffeine is a good start. The extra stress on the blood system can lead to heart issues and blood pressure problems, so try cutting down the number of cups of coffee you have a day.

Waking up can be hard, but a nice refreshing shower can wake you up with the change in temperature caused by water. A short workout first thing in the morning is also a great way to start your day. If you really need that cup of something hot, try some herbal tea (sustainably sourced or grown in your garden), and see how much better you feel when kick your coffee habit.

First image via morganlevy, Second image via mikebaird

More Healthy lifestyle changes stories:
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