Breaking the coffee habit
New Zealand’s favourite wellbeing expert answers readers’ questions about their health.
Question: I’m trying to drink less coffee, as I’m going through a stressful situation and notice that after I drink it my heart races and I often end up feeling more tired. Any advice on what I can use as a substitute? Thanks, Cait
Some people are perfectly OK having a cup of coffee in the morning, but for others, it makes their heart race and they know that when they drink it, it just doesn’t serve them – so good on you for observing how it makes you feel.
Drinking coffee can be a tough habit to break; in fact more often than not I find people are more upset about reducing their coffee consumption than their alcohol consumption.
A really great alternative to coffee is green tea. It still contains caffeine but much less of it. It’s not only a wonderful source of antioxidants, it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the nervous system. A far more nourishing way to start your day than with caffeine-rich and nervous-systemstimulating coffee.
Another alternative is dandelion root. This is one of the closest coffee alternatives you’ll get in terms of flavour. Roasted dandelion and chicory root come together to give you a fairly close taste and texture. Dandelion tea/ dandelion root are great liverfriendly alternatives to coffee. It tastes particularly nice with warm almond milk and a little bit of honey (if needed). Excess caffeine can decrease the absorption of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron – so it is always best to moderate your consumption of caffeine. Question: Many of my work colleagues are doing the ‘‘FODMAPS’’ diet, with, it seems, great results for their gut issues. Are you able to explain what FODMAPS is? Kind regards, Heather
Studies suggest that a FODMAP or low-FODMAP diet can significantly relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms for many people. It has been estimated that at least 10-20 per cent of the population are affected by this condition. The diagnosis of IBS generally relies upon the types of symptoms experienced and their context, such as how long they have been experienced and when they tend to occur.
From a nutritional perspective, certain foods and their components can cause the bowel to distend by drawing in more fluid and rapidly generating gas when they are fermented by our bowel bacteria. The main dietary components that do this are known as fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates. In other words, they are indigestible sugars that provide easy food for bacteria. These sugars have been given the Email your questions for Dr Libby to email@example.com. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.
acronym FODMAP, which stands for:
— quickly broken down by bacteria in our bowel
— fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) — lactose
Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols
— sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol
If you’re considering an experiment with a FODMAPs diet, it is best to seek advice from a qualified health professional who is experienced with FODMAP diets to ensure you still get all the nutrients you need. Plus they can guide you with bringing foods back, when that is appropriate, as unnecessarily restricting the diet is not ideal.
Sometimes it seems that no matter how much coffee you drink you just feel more tired.