Some people can't hold a conversation until they've had at least two cups of coffee. Caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea are loaded with antioxidants and may lower diabetes risk, but there are valid reasons to cut back. If you have stomach problems, feel jittery, or have trouble sleeping, it may be a sign you should reduce your daily java consumption.
But eliminating caffeine entirely isn't easy–or realistic–for most people, says Karen Ansel, R.D.N., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging.
So, what should you do? Here are Ansel's tips for giving up caffeine the right way:
For starters, don't go cold turkey
Think you can annihilate your cold brew cravings by avoiding the coffee shop? Think again.
This means your body isn't going to enjoy the drastic shift.
"Your brain is going to have a backlash," she tells Men's Health.
Side effects are different for everyone, but generally include headaches, problems concentrating, and fatigue.
Reduce caffeine consumption each week
Rather than adopting an "all or nothing a approach," Ansel recommends cutting back over a period of time. Give yourself a goal to reduce consumption by roughly 25 percent each week. If you typically have 14 coffees a week, try drinking 10 instead.
Or make your own blend using both caffeinated and decaf coffee. Your brew would . contain 75 percent caffeinated beans the first week. The following week, reduce that to 50 percent and work your way down to all decaf.
Eat more protein
Some studies suggest that eating high-carbohydrate diets are linked with poorer sleep quality. A 2017 paper published in Sleep found that children who consumed more carbs slept fewer hours each night. According to Ansel, eating a high-protein touch helps boost energy because. A salad loaded with vegetables and grilled chicken provides a healthy mix of carbs and protein to keep you energized, she explains.
Create a new afternoon ritual
Not everyone drinks caffeine for the pick-me-up. If you reach for an energy drink or latte every day at 2 p.m., there's a chance you practice this behavior out of habit. Replace that beverage with a 10-minute walk to get some sunshine, exercise, and energy. People who walked up stairs for 10 minutes received just as much energy as they did from 50 milligrams of caffeine, about one shot of espresso, according to a 2017 paper published in Physiology & Behavior.
Of course, you there's no need to give up caffeine if it doesn't interfere with your sleep or GI health, says Ansel.
"A lot of people think they need to give up caffeine and they don’t," she says.
Just don't go overboard. Tolerance varies by person, but most adults can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine, or roughly 24 ounces of coffee, per day, she says.