Decaf coffee drinkers who think they have switched to a healthier choice will be surprised to find out that a Stanford University study showed that decaf coffee raises the cholesterol higher and faster than regular coffee. A cup of decaf coffee still contains around 7 mg of caffeine. Plus, the beans chosen for decaf coffee have a higher acidic content than regular coffee to compensate for flavor loss during the decaffeination process. Since antacids are the top selling over-the-counter drug in America, it is evident that many people suffer from the acidity of coffee!
With all this bad news about our favorite legal drug habit, you may be wondering what is my alternative? Stephen Cherniske M.S., the author of Caffeine Blues (Warner 1998) recommends switching to caffeine-free herbal coffee. Herbal coffee, made from carob, chicory, barley, dates, figs and almonds, can be brewed right in your same coffee maker. It contains significant amounts of potassium to give you a natural energy lift. Potassium is added to sports recovery beverages because it helps your muscles and brain recover from fatigue. Herbal coffee is also alkaline for your system unlike coffee and tea which are highly acidic. Plus, chicory has high levels of inulin that is food for your digestive flora. Inulin will help establish a healthy colony of bifidus bacteria in the colon where they create B vitamins, help you absorb your minerals like calcium and iron, and enhance your immune system. If you depend on caffeine to drive your elimination, bifidus bacteria will help you become regular without dependency on stimulants.
Kicking the Caffeine Habit
Caffeine withdrawal headaches can be incapacitating. Often they are accompanied by fatigue as your body starts to recuperate from its former caffeine-driven pace. But it is not as hard as you may think to ease yourself off of caffeine if you use a two week weaning program. By slowly reducing the amount of caffeine you consume daily, you can avoid those withdrawal headaches and help your adrenal glands recover. You may be surprised to find in 2 to 3 months that you feel better than you've felt since you were a child and once again, you have an abundance of energy and enthusiasm for life!
It may interest you to know why you get a headache when you skip your morning cup. Caffeine acts a as powerful vasoconstrictor in the brain. That is, it constricts blood vessels in the brain and decreases circulation and oxygen supply by up to 30%! When caffeine is not present, the sudden increased circulation causes headaches. While this keeps millions of people addicted to the caffeine habit, the good news is that you can avoid this pitfall by slowly weaning yourself off caffeine over a two to three week period.
Start by mixing your normal coffee 3/4 to 1/4 caffeine-free herbal coffee. Gradually reduce the percentage of your coffee over a two-three week period until you are drinking 100% herbal coffee. You should be able to avoid the headaches and also gradually adjust your body to less reliance on stimulants.
Try these herbal tonics to help rebuild adrenal health and detoxify the body:
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Panax Ginseng (Panax ginseng or quinquefolius)
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)