The start of the New Year signals the beginning of many resolutions we make to try and improve our lifestyle and health. Eating more vegetables, quitting smoking, going to the gym more or trying to be more positive are just some we might be familiar with. And while cutting down on alcohol may also be a common one, should we be reducing caffeine too?

We live in a world that relies caffeine fixes to get us through the day, whether it’s from coffee or chocolate. We’ve become so over-stimulated, many of us just can’t keep up – and we’re feeling exhausted. Just like booze, regularly consuming caffeine can really have an impact on our health, both inside and out. Here’s 5 great reasons to ditch this stimulant:

1. CONSTANT TIREDNESS & STRESS

Going against the current trend of seeking calm through meditation and mindfulness, caffeine makes us artificially wired by stimulating the adrenals which stresses the body. If the levels of the fight-or-flight hormone are constantly raised throughout the day via a steady stream of caffeine, this raises our heart, breathing rates and muscle tension which over time, can cause long-term fatigue. Caffeine also stays in our bloodstream from 5-12 hours, so consider that when you go to bed and wonder why you can’t get to sleep!

2. CARB & SUGAR CRAVINGS

Because caffeine can affect our sleep and make us feel tired during the day, we may crave carbs and sugar for energy – so reaching for a bar of chocolate seems like a reasonable answer. However caffeine can interfere with the insulin levels which control how much fat our bodies store, meaning this combination of high blood glucose levels and poor insulin function can lead to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes. It can also play havoc with mood and brain function, causing poor concentration, mood swings and brain fog.

3. DEHYDRATED SKIN

Skin needs to be hydrated to look glowing and healthy but caffeine is a diuretic which encourages your body to flush out water. If you consume too much your skin can look dehydrated and dull, plus it causes the skin to become congested and hardened to form a dense mesh which leads to cellulite.

4. UNDERNOURISHED HAIR

Not only do we need essential nutrients for everyday bodily functions, but our hair also needs supplies of certain vitamins and minerals to keep it in good condition – including iron, selenium, zinc and copper. Caffeine has been found to flush these vital elements out of the body, so too much of it can deplete these vital mineral stores, which could even result in hair loss and premature greyness.

5. PROBLEMS WITH CONCEIVING

Thinking about having a baby? It’s advised to cut back on caffeine as this has been found to stop the muscles in the Fallopian tubes in the ovaries from contracting (essential for helping the egg and sperm come together in the womb). If you do become pregnant, try to cut down on caffeine or cut it out completely to prevent putting your unborn baby at risk. Studies have shown that women who consume more than 200mg of caffeine a day have double the miscarriage rate.

THE RISE OF DECAF

What’s interesting is that over in the States, millenials are becoming much more aware of the negative impact of caffeine on their bodies. According to the 2017 National Coffee Association survey, almost 20% of 18-39 year olds have switched to decaf, while 67% of consumers surveyed said it’s important to limit their caffeine intake. What’s causing this trend? For this age group, the subject of ‘health’ is about eating well and wholesome living, rather than just not feeling ‘ill’. They understand how to manage their energy levels during the day and are more aware of products that have an effect on their body; they know caffeine only provides a short-term boost but longer-term causes more fatigue.

In summary, we should all take a leaf out of their book and avoid/limit our caffeine intake to reduce stress, improve sleep and feel calmer and more relaxed as we head into the New Year. Let’s make 2018 the year we say no to caffeine and find other energy boosting alternatives instead!