One fine morning we decide to quit coffee or tea but soon realize that it’s not easy at all! Sudden stoppage of any caffeine containing food gives withdrawal symptoms. Examples are- headache, light-headedness, weakness, anxiety, irritability, drowsiness, loss of concentration, discomfort etc. It happens because caffeine is addictive or habit forming!
Caffeine is basically a stimulant and it is present in coffee, tea, chocolates, candies, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, cocoa powder etc. It increases alertness; one feels energetic and excited after consuming caffeine in any form. If your body is used to take any of these foods on regular basis, it becomes addicted and starts reacting if these foods are stopped abruptly. The withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person and depend upon the degree of addiction. The good news is, these symptoms disappear completely within a couple of days.
How to reduce these symptoms?
Literally- ‘not stopping caffeine suddenly but tapering its consumption gradually’ takes care of the symptoms! Follow these simple steps to stay away from withdrawal symptoms-
1. Measure and record your current caffeine intake. Note all caffeine containing foods and beverages.
2. Cut down on 1 serving of caffeine containing food/drink at a time. Give your body adequate time to adjust with it.
3. After several days, eliminate another source.
- Try taking decaffeinated coffee. Also, boil tea/coffee for as little time as possible to reduce caffeine load.
- Replace your caffeine containing drink with some healthy drink like herbal tea, lime water, buttermilk, milk, milkshake, hot soups etc. Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can worsen headache, irritability and weakness.
- If facing with withdrawal symptoms, take adequate rest to avoid weakness and distract your mind to some other task.
- Read food labels carefully to detect hidden sources of caffeine.
In summary, eliminating caffeine gradually will reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms making ‘the change’ bearable, acceptable and sustainable!