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The Buzz on Caffeine

The Buzz on Caffeine
By Brenda Jaeck

Many people find it difficult to function without that cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning. What, besides waking us up, does caffeine really do?

Caffeine has many evil effects. Just of few of them include:

    Emotional Disturbances – Anxiety and irritability are common known effects of caffeine consumption; it can also cause depression and attention disorders.

    Gastrointestinal Problems – Coffee (including decaf) is very acidic – this can be troubling to the entire digestive system – especially the stomach.

    Nutritional Deficiencies – Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and leeches other nutrients from the system.

    Stress – We live in a world with a lot of stress. Caffeine exacerbates this by causing the body to excrete stress hormones; sometimes creating increased anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion and insomnia. In addition continued consumption can lead to adrenal exhaustion leaving you vulnerable to other health related disorders such as inflammation, autoimmunity and fatigue.

    Cardiovascular Problems – Caffeine increases heart rates and elevates your blood pressure; as a result it can contribute to heart disease.

    Blood Sugar Swings – Diabetics and hypoglycemics should avoid caffeine because it stimulates insulin production.

    Male/Female Related Problems – Studies have shown that men significantly increase their risk of developing urinary or prostrate problems. Several problems have been linked to women’s caffeine use; these include fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriages, low birth weight infants, and it can exacerbate menopausal symptoms.

    Aging – Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to the aging of the skin and kidneys. It also slows the detoxification process of the liver.

Remember, caffeine is a foreign substance – something your body does not easily know how to assimilate. As such, imagine how much energy is used to process it internally – perhaps if energy was not used in this way – caffeine would not be needed in the first place!

What about decaf? When choosing a decaf coffee be sure to look for water processed. This is a safer form of caffeine extraction; the other form is done chemically. One would have to argue which is more harmful to the body – the caffeine or the chemical used to extract the caffeine.

So what CAN we drink? Herbal tea is a nice alternative for a hot beverage – there are many invigorating choices – peppermint, for example, is a great pick-me-up. Or, try some of the good grain and herbal substitutes: Techino comes in many different flavors and tastes similar to coffee. It is made from chicory, barley, carob, almonds and dates and is brewed like regular coffee. Another option is Celestial Seasoning’s Roastorama tea – it is made out of similar ingredients but also includes spices; it comes in tea bag form.

For further information see Stephen Cerise’s book entitled Caffeine Blues, Wake up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s # 1 Drug. Brenda Jaeck is a Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Counselor, Lecturer and Workshop Facilitator. She can be contacted at 917 213 9305 or
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