Sunday, December 22, 2013

Can a Mother Give up Caffeine?

No. The end.

(Shout-out to The Monko from Taming the Goblin for suggesting that simple approach!)

But seriously...why am I even asking such a silly question? I've been an avid coffee-drinker and worshiper for two decades. Drinking coffee makes me happy and gets me through the day. Why stop now?

Well, I'm hitting middle age (although you can't really tell from the outside), and I'm trying to take my health more seriously. We've all heard the conflicting reports: caffeine is bad. No, wait, it's good. No, hang on there--it's bad again (my all-time favorite coffee factoid is that is lowers suicide risk in women. That's good). I'm perpetually exhausted, which is why I stick with caffeine--but why do so many health aficionados insist we cut it out? I had to find answers. Here are some good ones:

  • Caffeine increases stress hormones (which, in turn, leads to systemic inflammation)
  • Addiction to caffeine affects your cardiovascular system
  • Coffee's acidity can cause heartburn and mess up your gut flora
  • Caffeine may affect serotonin levels, leading to depression, anxiety, and sleep issues
  • Coffee can affect liver function, making it harder for your body to excrete toxins.

(It seems there are a lot of implications for those of us with MTHFR gene mutations--if you're in the "MoFo" club, read the entire article from which the above information came. It told me everything I needed to know, including why I need to cut out the coffee itself, not just the caffeine. Damn it.)

So now, let's revisit my original question: "can a mother give up caffeine?" I certainly don't want to, but it looks like I'm going to have to give it a shot (pun alert!). It seems to be helping me get through my day, but if the experts are right, it's actually increasing my stress, affecting my sleep, adding to my stroke risk, compromising my serotonin, and making my body toxic. When you put it in those terms, I think trying to give up coffee is something that needs to be done, pronto.

Wish me luck. Hopefully a healthier mom will be a happier mom.

1 comment:

  1. oh well now I wish I hadn't read your post. Obviously I'm not going to give up coffee, but now I am going to feel guilty about my health while doing it - kill joy!
    (Thanks for the shout out)