Cleveland, OH

Dropping caffeine without the headache

Terrence Jacobs

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CLEVELAND, OH — Caffeine is available in various forms. In coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, to name a few. But they all have one thing in common: they can be tough to quit.

If the best part of getting out of bed is all that caffeine in your cup, it may be time to cut back — but how? Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD, a registered dietitian, discusses how to reduce your caffeine intake safely.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, healthy adults should consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which equals four or five cups of coffee. However, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs recommends no more than 250 milligrams, or about three cups of coffee, per day.

Although caffeine is generally regarded as safe, consuming as little as 300 milligrams per day can increase your risk of adverse effects such as nausea, anxiety, sleeplessness, and restlessness.

If you’re trying to quit your caffeine habit, here’s where to start:

  1. Do a caffeine audit by figuring out how much caffeine you consume each day, then think about where you can cut back.
  2. To avoid these adverse side effects, such as the unbearable headaches associated with withdrawal, take it slowly, and don’t expect to kick your caffeine habit overnight.
  3. Drink more water is another key to overcoming caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, staying hydrated will energize your body, potentially eliminating the need for caffeine in the first place.
  4. Withdraw from the caffeine gradually by setting your time limit. For example, to avoid interfering with your sleep, medical professionals recommend 2 p.m.
  5. Make changes that will make you feel better. Dig deeper into your psychology to identify your consumption habits.
  6. Believe in yourself. Like any other substance, caffeine can be difficult to quit — but not as difficult as you might think, according to Czerwony.

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