By Lola Sherwin
Caffeine is one of those things that so many of us reach for when we’re feeling tired or sluggish. The truth is though, that although it can work as a quick fix to our tiredness, it can have detrimental effects on our general health and energy levels.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in products such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, among others. It works by stimulating your central nervous system, heart and muscles (1), and it may cause a short but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, although this isn’t the case for everyone (2).
Benefits of Reducing Your Caffeine Intake
There’s a whole host of benefits to reducing your caffeine intake, and the positive effects that doing so can have on your general health and energy levels are countless. We’ve listed some of the main ones below, to help you decide whether you want to reduce your caffeine intake:
Less caffeine means better sleep - If you struggle with getting to sleep and staying asleep at night, then you might need to look at your caffeine intake. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine on a daily basis can alter your sleep cycle, which can cause restless sleep and daytime drowsiness (3). This is especially likely to be the case if you consume caffeine less than 6 hours before heading to bed (4).
Consuming less caffeine can help you to absorb nutrients more efficiently - The tannins that can be found in caffeine can make the body’s absorption of calcium, iron and B vitamins less effective, so by reducing your caffeine, you will also be helping your body to absorb these important nutrients more effectively (5).
Lower caffeine intakes can help to balance out female hormones - Caffeine has been found to alter oestrogen levels (6), which can be a cause for concern if you have an increased risk for conditions such as breast cancers, ovarian cancers and endometriosis (7). Additionally, caffeine has been proven to worsen menopause symptoms, so by cutting it out, you’ll be helping your body to better cope with these (8).
Reducing your caffeine intake can be good for your blood pressure - Caffeine is known to raise blood pressure levels due to its stimulatory effect on the nervous system (9), so by reducing your caffeine intake, you could do wonders for your blood pressure levels.
Less caffeine can help to reduce anxiety - Consuming too much caffeine can cause an increase in anxiety, as the burst of energy that comes with it stimulates our fight or flight hormones (10). This means that by reducing your caffeine intake, you’ll also be helping to lower your anxiety levels, which will help you to feel more calm in day-to-day life.
Reducing caffeine can help to balance our brain chemistry - Caffeine can really affect our mood, as it can alter our brain chemistry in a similar way to drugs (11). By reducing our caffeine intake, we can help to balance our brain chemistry, meaning our mood will be more constant and less subject to temporary changes.
Less caffeine means less headaches - One of the biggest side effects of caffeine withdrawal is headaches, along with brain fog, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability (12). If you suffer from these symptoms, it could be time to reduce your caffeine intake to prevent yourself from suffering with caffeine withdrawal.
What Can You Swap Your Caffeine Fix For?
Luckily for you, if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake to improve your overall health and boost your energy levels, then there are plenty of things to swap your caffeine out for. We’ve listed some of the best alternatives below, to help you make your transition from caffeine as smooth and easy as possible:
jrny shakes - Our jrny shakes are a perfect way to swap out your caffeine fix. Instead of your morning coffee, you can now reach for your protein-packed, multi-vitamin shake that’s backed by science, and you’ll be feeling the benefits in no time. The caffeine withdrawal symptoms will be long gone, and you’ll see a notable improvement in your energy levels, anxiety levels and overall health.
Get more natural light - Another great way to boost your energy levels without caffeine is to open your blinds as soon as you wake up. Getting more light in the morning will give you a healthy dose of vitamin D and serotonin, which can help to boost your mood and feel more alert throughout the day (13).
Boost your energy with a cold water shower - If you want to feel more alert but are cutting out the caffeine, consider jumping in a cold shower. Cold showers have been shown to boost our alertness (14), so are a great way to get the energy levels up in the morning. If you can’t face a full cold shower, then try just turning the water to cold for the last minute or so before you get out. The benefits will be worth it!
Stay hydrated throughout the day - One of the best ways to maintain your energy levels without caffeine is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, and you’ll notice a decline in fatigue in brain fog (15). It also means that when you fancy a coffee, you can reach for a glass of water instead, so you’re replacing your caffeine with the endless health benefits of water - what’s not to love?
A Healthy Coffee Alternative
Of course, there's no need to completely stop drinking coffee if you don't want to. Like most things in life, moderation is key and there's nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of a freshly brewed coffee. Disclaimer: many of the team still love a Mocha or Latte at times!
As you know, quality and health is key for us at jrny. If you are still wanting to consume coffee as part of your daily routine that's also okay. However, ensure you're drinking a naturally clean, healthy, speciality coffee. This will make sure you're optimising for health and avoiding the energy crashes and long term health implications caused by low grade coffee consumption.
Balance Coffee are a company who carefully test for Mould, Mycotoxins and Pesticides to provide a naturally clean coffee. They source their coffee from the top 5% of farms worldwide and are committed to paying 25% more for the best in quality available, having worked with Nutritionist Clemmie Rose to develop their understanding of healthy coffees. You can also consider using a functional coffee alternative which provides various benefits when compared to drinking regular coffee. Balance produce one of the best mushroom coffees in the UK, so you can look after your health first and were voted 'Best Organic Roaster 2022. There's a lot to love!
Like us they're also ethos driven, offering customers the chance to plant a tree with every sip, with 700+ planted and growing. Their products come in compostable packaging and they're also give 1% off all sales to Project Waterfall, a charity that helps to build wells and provide clean water to deprived coffee communities. So you can feel good and do good.
As you can see, there are plenty of health benefits to reducing your caffeine intake, and it really can do wonders for your energy level. Our favourite way to swap out the caffeine is to enjoy one of our delicious jrny shakes in the morning instead, as this makes sure you’re getting all your nutrients in and are ready to face the day.
At jrny, we are made up of a team of Sports Scientists & Chartered Nutritionists. We want to make sure that we’re not just putting up the pseudo-science you’d see on other sites. If any of our staff put anything on our blog that relates to your health, you can bet that it is backed by evidence-based science! It always will be. That’s our commitment to you.