Caffeine is an indispensable part of our morning routine. Now, you liking coffee ain’t no crime. However, you might have a problem if this liking turns into addiction. For most people, coffee is synonymous to the elixir of life. It is the wonder drink that keeps you charged up and sane throughout the day. Caffeine withdrawal can be stressful, frustrating and a real test of your willpower. For starters, there are the headaches that leave you grumpy, irritable, and super cranky. These headaches are soon followed by mood swings anxiety and insomnia that hamper your concentration and productivity. We bring forth 15 natural ways to overcome your caffeine addiction and cure the painful headaches that come with it:
The Dark Side of Caffeine
A cup of coffee is essential to kick-start our day. Caffeine hits our central nervous system(1), keeping it awake and alert. It alters the neurotransmitters and even changes the electric activity of the brain, keeping it aroused for a long time. Coffee is so ubiquitous that we tend to forget that it’s actually a psychoactive drug. And although it has several health benefits when consumed in limited proportions, an excess of it can hamper your health. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. And unfortunately, this applies to your favorite beverage as well.
What Causes the Caffeine Withdrawal Headaches?
Do you feel cranky, irritable and dysfunctional if you don’t get your caffeine dose in the morning? You just might be a caffeine addict. Coffee might be useful in elevating your mood and boosting your concentration. However, on the downside, an excess of coffee can restrict blood flow to the brain, make you disoriented and an insomniac. We keep consuming coffee, making several trips to the nearest Starbucks, spending a considerable portion of our money – just to function normally. What’s worse, it’s extremely difficult to quit the habit once you’re addicted. Cutting down on the caffeine intake suddenly might lead to migraines, body aches, and even severe anxiety(2).
Some Signs and Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal
WHO recognizes caffeine addiction as a legit clinical disorder(3), although it doesn’t ruin lives like other drugs and alcohol. You can easily overcome your dependence on coffee and gradually cut down your daily intake. The addiction is relatively short-lived and rarely serious when compared to some of the other drugs out there. Consuming excess of coffee increases stress hormone cortisol and epinephrine that can cause a racing heart and palpitations. It even triggers heartburns, panic attacks, indigestion, and GERD. Here are some other common signs and symptoms that you might face in case you decide to withdraw from the coffee addiction;
- Persistent headaches and even migraines
- Dizziness, sleepiness, and lethargy
- Alters your blood pressure levels
- Causes indigestion
- Can lead to depression and anxiety
How Long Does the Caffeine Headache Last?
It’s surprising and worrying how most people aren’t even aware of being heavily dependent on coffee! Just an average daily consumption of 100mg of caffeine per day is enough to get you addicted to significant withdrawal symptoms. And how long does the torture last? Well, it sure feels like ages,but in reality, it takes but a few weeks for the coffee to completely leave your system. In some serious cases, it might take a few months before the addiction goes away. To get an accurate withdrawal duration, one must take into account their body’s metabolism, your general health, diet, and lifestyle.
Stop popping those painkillers every time your head aches. These meds do more harm than good. Listed below are the top 15 natural and home-made remedies to treat caffeine-induced headaches.
1. Green Leafy Veggies
Drinking a lot of coffee can cause considerable damage to your kidneys and liver. It increases the acidic levels in your stomach, causes indigestion and is overall toxic for your stomach. People who are suffering from caffeine withdrawal signs must aim at detoxifying your body. Including veggies with high magnesium content in your diet is one of the most effective ways of cleaning up your liver. Veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli and green beans also improve blood circulation, balance blood sugar levels and improve nerve function.
2. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are often suggested by doctors to fight common cold and anxiety. It boosts your body’s immunity and flushes out toxins effectively. Vitamin C is a good remedy for curing headaches.(4) Including lemons, oranges, Brussels sprouts, yogurt, and chili peppers in your diet is a good way to ensure a steady supply of Vitamin C in your body. The nutrients act as a natural brain stimulant, relax your nerves and act as an antibiotic shield. Vitamin C fights virus attacks, prevents diseases like scurvy, reduces skin damage and acne breakouts.
3. Lavender Oil
Essential oils like lavender extracts, teatree and chamomile, help you relax and balance your blood pressure levels. Lavender oil extracts stimulate brain activity, enhances your mood and has an overall calming effect on your body. Prepare a luxury soak – add a few drops of essential oils to lukewarm water and take a long soak in. You can even gently massage your temples and forehead with lavender oil to decrease mental stress and anxiety. People also resort to sniffing lavender scent whenever they feel the urge to drink coffee.
Read here – 7 Essential Oils For Headaches Relief Fast
4. Dairy Products
Coffee deprivation headaches can be quite exhausting, your body is used to excessive coffee and can get quite cranky when it doesn’t get any. People who are in the first stages of coffee withdrawal might find it difficult to straight up quit their everyday intake. We suggest you decrease your coffee dose gradually and use a supplement in your initial days of withdrawal. Dairy products like raw cheese, cottage cheese milk, and eggs are rich in Vitamin B and act as a powerful nerve stimulant. Vitamin B12 enhances the formation of red blood cells and repairs the damaged nerves effectively.(5)
5. Zinc Supplements
Zinc supplements are usually recommended for people who suffer from common cold and mild headaches. However, zinc can also be used to boost immunity, stimulate the nervous system and keep you focused. It cures skin irritations, high blood pressure, psoriasis, acne, and migraines. We suggest that you include loads of shrimp, kidney beans, flax seeds, oysters, and garlic in your daily diet. These are pretty common kitchen ingredients that are used for adding flavor to your cooking. Who knew they were so healthy!
Milk, when consumed in its raw, unadulterated form, is a superb source of natural calcium that’s necessary for strengthening bones. Calcium also reduces blood pressure, promotes better brain functioning and stop caffeine headaches almost immediately. Replace your daily dose of coffee with a glass of warm milk; it keeps your energized, enhances stamina and helps with a headache as well. Kale, cheese broccoli, and almonds are other credible sources of calcium that you can include in your diet.
7. Potassium Rich Fruits
Potassium is essential for muscle growth and strengthening the bones. It also helps people battle migraines and fight caffeine addiction. Potassium-rich foods like potatoes, bananas, peas, kiwis, apricots, lima beans and citrus fruits are easily available and very healthy. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce headaches and body pain. It is also useful in balancing blood pressure levels and regulating your heartbeat. Note that excessive potassium might be harmful to your body. Doctors recommend 4,500 milligrams for adults and less than 3,000 milligrams for children(6).
8. Peppermint Tea
It is not easy giving up on a beverage that’s so beloved and addictive as coffee. The first few days are an absolute nightmare where all you want to do is sip something. Try out some supplementary drinks for a change. Green tea, organic beverages, and peppermint tea are healthier alternatives to coffee. Peppermint has the same refreshing effect on your brain; it soothes our stomach and works wonders for your headache. The astringent found in peppermint also boosts brain activity and curbs the coffee withdrawal anxiety.
9. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is another effective alternative to coffee that most people have incorporated into their morning routine. Ginger has a significant place in Ayurveda and is considered a medicinal herb for its antibacterial and healing properties. It stimulates the mind, regulates blood flow, relaxes the frayed nerves, detoxifies the liver and has an overall calming effect on your system. Ginger is also effective in fighting various infections, virus attacks, common cold, stomach troubles and mild migraines. A cup of steaming ginger tea also promotes fights lethargy and boosts your immunity.
Dehydration is a common cause of migraines. Your brain requires the maximum amount of water and not getting enough might lead to headaches and dizziness. Not drinking enough water also hampers your concentration and cause irritation. Most people compensate for the water levels in their body by drinking coffee and other beverages. Well, it does more harm than good. Excessive coffee can be toxic to your body, it messes with your nerves and the brain enough to cause lasting headaches. To avoid these ailments, it is imperative that you drink enough water throughout the day and consume seasonal fruits that have a high moisture content.
11. Lifestyle Changes
Giving up a few bad habits and other addictions play a major role in reducing your headache. A few simple and effective lifestyle changes can go a long way in boosting your body’s longevity and well-being. For instance, getting a solid 6-7 hours’ sleep every night would automatically keep your fresh the next day. Also, a healthy, balanced diet ensures a steady nutrient supply. It is only when your body’s natural functioning is altered that we turn to external supplements like caffeine.
12. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises like pranayama are extremely effective in getting rid of headaches and promoting overall good health. The art of inhaling and exhaling plays a very important role in determining your physical and emotional well-being. You can try deep breathing to fight the coffee cravings and anxiety caused by your withdrawal. Deep breathing also helps battle your inner restlessness and help in eliminating toxins from your body. Pranayama also improves your concentration power, fights brain fog and keeps you alert all day long. Who needs coffee or any external supplement to stay energized when you can do it by yourself!
Holistic wellness is an integral part of our lives, irrespective of our age, gender or culture. Yoga is often recommended by health professionals for a healthier, more productive lifestyle. Meditation and yoga are great stress busters that keep you fresh and energized all day long. Devote a few minutes every morning or evening to perform a few simple exercises and meditation. You’ll immediately start noticing the difference it makes in expanding your brain capacity and inner peace. Ditch the coffee cup for 5 minutes of meditation!
Panax ginseng, especially the high-strength and aged red ginseng is a powerful cure for caffeine-induced headaches. Red ginseng is an adaptogen that changes and adapts to an individual’s needs. Use ginseng as a supplement to coffee, it provides the same energizing effect, tastes pretty good and has none of the toxic properties of caffeine. Ginseng also provides a sense of well-being and support to your body by repairing the adrenal glands that were damaged by excessive coffee. It even effectively relieves you of body aches and reduces anxiety levels.
The Bottom Line
Our days feel incomplete without a cup of coffee and rightfully so. Nothing charges up your system like a shot of caffeine! Our body produces several enzymes to keep us refreshed, and that’s healthy and sound. The problem starts when we get depended on foreign supplements to trigger the production of these hormones in our bodies. And when you try to reduce the coffee intake, your body screams out in protest dolling out headaches and muscle cramps. Don’t let that deter you; try out these natural home remedies to overcome your addiction and emerge victoriously.
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