For all too many of us, we start the day with a hefty dose of caffeine, and our healthy eating habits go downhill from there. In fact, many of us forget that our drinks contribute to our diet, calorie intake, and overall health, and slurp down whatever’s needed to keep us on our feet and powering through the day. If you’re looking to improve your overall health – and bust a little stress too – then shaking up what you’re drinking is a great place to start. Here’s some top tips for staying healthy at work to help start you off.
Why Caffeine Is ‘Bad’ For Your Health
Caffeine has become a health-world no-no, but few of us really know why. It’s a stimulant, which is why so many of us lean on it to help us get an extra burst of energy after a long day, or kick start our morning routines. This means it can easily add a little pep to your step- but that ‘free energy’ comes at a price. We’re sure you all know what the notorious caffeine comedown feels like! At that point, if you’re already stressed out and drained, you tend to fill up on even more caffeine.
This can have knock-on effects on our health we seldom realize. Did you know:
- Caffeine stays in your system for up to 12 hours, meaning it can affect your sleep?
- Stimulants like caffeine can increase blood pressure, putting strain on your heart and blood vessels?
- While up to 300mg of caffeine daily is considered safe in pregnancy, more can upset you, cause heartburn, and negatively affect your baby.
- Caffeine is a diuretic, so it can have you running to the bathroom more than you’d like, and doesn’t help you stay hydrated
- Caffeine can be mildly addictive
Stress – The Silent Killer
While enjoying a cup of coffee here and there is no problem, and can even help migraine sufferers, bust tension headaches, and power you up for a little better performance in the gym, the real problem lies when it becomes an unhealthy crutch. So there’s no need to stop your weekly espresso in the name of health, but if you find you’re only making it through the day with multiple cups, it’s time to re-evaluate.
Stress, sometimes called the ‘Silent Killer’, has become a critical problem in modern society. Excess adrenaline floods your system as you panic about deadlines, getting the kids to school, and 100 other things. Eventually, your hormone system can’t respond correctly, and our cortisol levels rise. This affects the quality of our sleep, entrenching us deeper into fatigue. Not only does it stress the heart, affect our mental performance, dull creativity, and keep us on edge, but it can cramp our immune system and even dim our love lives.
Stimulants like caffeine help prop us up when stress becomes too much, but because of that stimulating nature, only promote more cortisol and pull us deeper into the unhealthy stress cycle.
Break Out The Caffeine Loop
We all know we should be good kids and load up on water. Not only is it calorie-free, but it keeps our system primed and our bodies hydrated. The old trick of keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a fantastic way to build more of nature’s healthiest drink into your day – but even we will admit it gets a little dull. What else can you do to lower stress, stay hydrated, and cut down on your caffeine intake?
- Flavor – Adding flavor to your water is a great way to shake it up. Try some juicy cucumber slices with a little mint, or toss in some lemon juice and a stick of lavender. From fruit to herbs and beyond, there’s fantastic natural ways to flavor water to make it more appealing and add variety
- Decaffeinate – If the urge for a coffee is too strong, switch to decaf. While there’s still trace caffeine amounts, it will give you all of the taste with much less of the bad stuff
- Try Tea – We don’t mean a sugary, milky tea either! Herbal teas come with many health-boosting benefits of their own, and can be drunk hot or cold for an exciting taste experience
- Health Drinks – Health drinks can be a mixed bag. Some are packed with artificial flavoring, sugar, and a bunch of stuff you don’t need. But there are many healthy drink brands out there. Look for no added sugars or artificial flavorings, and additional vitamins or ingredients that are proven to help with stress. Something like Moment, the natural energy drink, can fill a flavor craving and provide a whole bunch of good stuff, instead of stimulants and calories. There’s plenty of other great health-boosting brands to try, too.
If you’re hoping to cut down on your coffee habit, remember to start slow and take it easy. Quitting cold turkey can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms, so slow and steady wins the race to healthier drinking habits!