National Caffeine Awareness Month

Cheryl Nuzum

March is considered National Caffeine Awareness Month and our first thought is – as if we need to be any more aware??? I mean, I’m writing this as I sip a Venti iced coffee, my usual writing beverage of choice.
The statistics show the majority of Americans are right there beside me. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 consume at least one cup of coffee everyday.
But caffeine isn’t a joke and it can have some serious effects on the body – some good, some bad – making it important to make sure we’re drinking an OK amount. The Mayo Clinic reports that around 400 mg of caffeine per day is the safe amount. Exactly how much caffeine is that?
–  4 cups of coffee (8oz)
– 11 cans of Coca-Cola
– 5 cans of Red Bull
– 4 cans of Monster
That’s not so bad for majority of us. But what about those of us that drink more than the recommended amount or happen to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine? Insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, upset stomach, heartburn, and muscle tremors are just a few of side effects to those who consume more than necessary for their bodies.
If you choose to cut back on caffeine, there are many ways to start.

  1. If you love the taste of coffee, try switching to decaf so you get all of the flavor but none of the added caffeine.
  2. If the first thing you do in the morning is brew a pot of coffee, try switching to another method to invigorate your morning. A quick morning run, a splash of cold water on your face or even just setting your alarm a little earlier and giving yourself extra time to wake up could go a long way in starting your day.
  3. If by mid-afternoon you’re starting to feel a little drag, instead of swinging by the coffee shop or vending machine, try taking a walk or grabbing a snack instead. Sometimes your body needs a little extra fuel and we convince ourselves a caffeine fix is the answer when in reality, something light to eat would work much better. Or, we get ourselves into a funk sitting in class all day, or going to work, or studying in the library, and a change of scenery might do the trick, even if just for a few minutes.

Remember that caffeine isn’t a bad thing. The important thing is to pay attention to what our bodies need. If you feel a caffeine cutback might be what you need, work on some self-control. I know our 21st century, millennial generation culture doesn’t exactly promote self-control, but you’re better than the rest of us and you know it. Otherwise, do what our generation does promote and drink away!