Is Your OCD (Obsessive Coffee Disorder) Healthy?
Since we’re such good friends, we have a secret to share. You might want to sit down… We love coffee like we love breathing and live by the philosophy that all you need to be happy is love, a nap and a beautiful cup of coffee.
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 80% of Americans down at least one 6oz cup of java daily for its caffeine (the most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world), which contains approx. 100mg of caffeine. “Studies show 30mg or less of caffeine can alter mood and affect behavior and 100mg per day can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon abstinence.”
In other words, all coffee drinkers have OCD – Obsessive Coffee Disorder.
Do you drink coffee because of the adrenaline jolt or because you simply love the taste? Do you drink it black, double doubled or as a skinny latte? Regardless of how or why you drink coffee, it comes with a slew of health risks – sleep disruption and the jitters to name a few. But it also has some pretty sweet perks (pun intended). Coffee’s benefits include enhanced memory, increased energy and a decreased risk for diseases like Parkinson’s and Type 2 Diabetes.
But wait, is our coffee addiction good or bad for us?
You’re not alone if you’re confused about whether your morning cuppa joe is a help or hindrance. While researchers (mostly) give it a thumbs up, high consumption of boiled coffee or espresso still comes with some long-term health risks, especially if you’re predisposed to heart disease. And don’t forget, coffee is void of the nutrients milk and juice contain so your caffeine fix might be robbing you of a healthier beverage choice. If you add cream or sugar to your coffee, it can also be a calorie trap. Some commercial coffee drinks contain more than 500 calories.
Relax, we’re not suggesting you ditch your favorite house brew in favor of a glass of OJ. Whether you call it coffee, café, java, how your coffee is brewed is as important as the size of your mug. One study showed that a 16-ounce cup of the house blend at Starbucks had an average of 259 milligrams of caffeine compared with only 143 milligrams in the same-sized cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts.
Try these 3 tricks to make your coffee healthier
- Have more than just coffee for breakfast. Coffee on an empty stomach increases acidity in the gut, which can lead to indigestion during the day. Left unchecked, high acidity can lead to heartburn, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome. Pair your morning coffee with a high-protein, low calorie breakfast.
- Know when to say no. If your heart feels like a bird trying to escape its cage or you feel anxious and jittery, it might be time to cut back. Disrupted sleep is another telltale sign – try reducing the amount of coffee you drink after 2 pm.
- Learn to love small. Average daily caffeine consumption ranges between 300 and 400 mg, which is about 4 cups of coffee. That triple shot madness needs to stop. If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, talk to your doctor about safe caffeine levels for you and your soon-to-be born baby.
How to cut back on coffee
If your OCD is affecting your health, your doctor may suggest limiting your coffee intake. Don’t worry, you can do this. Instead of going cold turkey, use the tips below to create a roadmap to safer coffee consumption – with minimal withdrawal symptoms.
- Downsize. If you normally order a double XL, order a large instead. Maintain for a few weeks and go down to a medium and eventually a small.
- Hydrate with water. Match your coffee with a glass of water to help your body stay hydrated. Remember, even mild dehydration can lead to headaches and listlessness, which could explain that mid-afternoon hump if you’ve hydrated with coffee all morning.
- Try tea. If you need a caffeine fix mid-afternoon, brew a cup of green tea. Just don’t leave the bag in too long or you’ll be consuming the same level of caffeine.
- Set a caffeine curfew. Cut off coffee consumption at 2 pm to give your body a chance to flush it out of your system by the time you want to sleep.
- Maintain a healthy sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will help your brain and body feel more energized (and less desperate for a caffeine fix).
We all have our vices and there’s nothing wrong with coffee – as long as it’s not affecting your health. If your coffee addiction has gotten the better of you, it’s time to get serious and take back control.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- Sneaky sources of drowsiness & fatigue
- How much sleep do you need each night?
- The joy and benefits of reading before bed