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The benefits of quitting coffee

Could giving coffee a miss be the key to better health?

Close-up of someone taking a sip of a latte
Close-up of someone taking a sip of a latte

For many of us, our day doesn’t officially start until we have that first gulp – or oversized mug – of coffee. And while drinking within the recommended daily intake (400 mg, or approximately two espressos) shouldn’t cause any adverse health effects, there are benefits to skipping it altogether.

Coffee might put a bounce in your step (or allow you to even function pre-10am), but giving it a miss might be the key to more energy and better health. Here are seven great reasons to bypass the coffee pot today, however like all health decisions it’s best to consult your doctor on what’s right for you.

1. You might have more balanced energy levels

Drinking caffeinated beverages is like running your body on credit. As nutritionist Melissa Smith explains, caffeine locks onto receptors that are involved in energy production, tricking your body into having more energy, while using up natural energy-giving molecules that are normally reused in the energy production cycle.

Caffeine also increases your stress response, which results in the release of the stress hormone cortisol. “An increase in cortisol will cause an increase in blood sugar levels which then increases insulin. This increases inflammation, making you feel tired and lousy,” Melissa says.

2. You’ll sleep better

Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it’s not ideal for promoting quality sleep. Removing it from your day keeps cortisol and melatonin at their natural rhythms, which results in better sleep and less fatigue.

3. It may help shift belly fat

Cortisol is a big player in the development of belly fat. Now we’re not saying you’ll lose weight by simply cutting out caffeine alone, but it does contribute to regulating the system that creates and maintains that spare tyre.

For more tips on how to lose weight, check out Dr Sandro Demaio’s guide to reducing your portion size.

A woman working at night on her computer takes a sip of coffee

4. It may reduce anxiety

Caffeine consumption increases lactic acid, which can lead to anxiety. “Many of my clients who have suffered anxiety for years simply removed caffeine, and their symptoms disappeared almost immediately,” Smith says.

If you’re currently suffering from anxiety and unsure where to turn, we provide eligible members with mental health management programs to support you and promote positive behaviour change and mental wellness.

5. It might help with vitamin and mineral absorption

Research shows caffeine can cause depletion of important nutrients, like vitamin B6, and interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. It also inhibits the amount of calcium that is absorbed through the intestinal tract and depletes the amount retained by the bones.

Caffeine may also reduce the absorption of manganese, zinc and copper, and increase the excretion of magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphate.

6. You may reduce your overall daily calorie intake

This one depends on how you take your coffee and what you plan on replacing it with, but if you currently make yours with milk and sugar or get your fix from a café latte, dropping the coffee means reducing your daily calorie intake. Try hot water with lemon or caffeine-free herbal tea instead.

7. Save yourself some dough

Coffee isn’t exactly cheap, with the average café-bought cuppa costing more than $4. Ditching your one-a-day coffee habit might save you upwards of $28 per week, equating to $1,460 each year.

Struggling to make it happen? Here are Melissa’s top tips for quitting coffee:

  • If you’re tired when you first wake up, drink a warm cup of water with some lemon juice. For bonus points, drink it by a window with the sun streaming in. Sunlight shuts off melatonin and increases cortisol naturally, which is needed to feel awake in the morning.

  • Get to the root of your fatigue, as it might be stress or diet related. When it comes to your diet, consume a protein-based breakfast, avoid refined carbohydrates (like cereals, bread, pasta and baked goods), eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as healthy fats like avocados.

  • Consume plenty of B vitamins, which are necessary for energy production. Foods rich in vitamin B include meat and fish, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, berries, avocados, nuts and seeds, eggs, beans and oats.

  • Prioritise sleep. Caffeine is often used to try and negate a lack of sleep so make sure you catch plenty of Z’s.

At nib, we believe that keeping fit and healthy all year round is how it should be. Complete your free Health Check at any time and get personalised health insights and actionable recommendation from sources you can trust.

Please note: The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner.