Winter is one of the most cherished seasons, it is the time for cosy hot drinks and being warm and comfortable inside our homes. A cup of hot coffee/tea is all we crave on cold winter days. However, over-dependency on caffeine can cause side effects like dehydration, acidity, difficulty absorbing nutrients, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. While caffeine lifts mood, makes us alert and comforts us during the cold season, it is addictive and can be detrimental to our health. Even if addictions are unhealthy, the brain finds them satisfying! Anyone who is dependent on tea, coffee, or meals high in sugar may identify with this guilty pleasure. You can restrict caffeine intake gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms like headaches, dizziness, jitteriness, and mood swings. (Also read: Is coffee good or bad for us? It might help, but it doesn’t enhance health )
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Aman Puri, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, suggested some healthier ways to limit caffeine intake.
- Replace your hot coffee/hot chocolate with turmeric milk or homemade, elaichi- flavoured badam milk. Turmeric and elaichi (cardamom) are antioxidants and help improve digestion, while almonds are a good source of vitamin E, iron, potassium magnesium, protein, and heart-healthy fats. A bowl of piping hot homemade soup without artificial ingredients and preservatives can be comforting and nutritious instead of evening tea/coffee.
- Tea lovers can switch to homemade herbal teas made of fresh spices (cinnamon, tulsi, clove, cardamom, ginger) instead of relying on packaged masala teas for health benefits. Use organic honey/jaggery, coconut sugar, or stevia instead of white sugar. For coffee lovers, a decaffeinated coffee version may be a better idea to prevent caffeine addiction. Limit the intake of caffeine to 2-3 small cups a day.
- Switch to other options of teas available in the market like green/chamomile/jasmine/lavender/lemon grass/strawberry tea- they’re not only refreshing but contain antioxidants, which help detoxify the body.
- A cup of freshly-brewed ginger-honey lemon tea as an alternative to regular tea/coffee can have several health benefits, including lowering inflammation, improved digestion, and lesser seasonal cold and coughs. Ginger keeps the body warm naturally and helps reduce joint pain and body aches that can get triggered during winter.
- Instead of starting your day with a cup of tea/coffee, have a glass of lukewarm lemon water. It improves digestion, maintains healthy gut pH, gives you the daily dose of vitamin C, and helps detoxify the body.
- Research has shown that apples are effective in increasing alertness and activeness, similar to the effect of a cup of caffeine- replacing morning tea/coffee with an apple is a great start to the day.
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