The Junk In Java

When I was in high school, I would at least take it five times during the day. It cleared my mind and made my headaches come down for a while. My classes were very strenuous and the pressure to be the top of my class was on me from my peers and parents. I would use it to keep me awake when I would study late at night. To me it was my daily fix. If I did not have my daily dose, I would have drawback symptoms such as more headaches, loss of appetite, nervousness and lightheadedness.

Even at age 22, I still take it every day, well, not as much as I used to. As I sit here at a local fast food restaurant writing and taking some of my daily dose (believe me, it’s cheaper than buying it at school) I wonder whether or not I am an addict. I am not a raging alcoholic nor a pothead. Neither do I do drugs or smoke. I must confess: I am a java addict. No, not an Internet nerd, but a coffee freak. People often tell me that I overdo it in my coffee drinking. They are right. Some of the consequences of being a coffee drinker have taken toll in my health: yellow teeth (you know how hard it is to get those stains out) and nervousness (I become very clumsy and very nervous when I have three cups or more). For you rookies out there that are taking coffee as if it were water … consider yourself warned. Here are a few side effects that might drive you away from coffee:

· Rapid heartbeat

· Irritability

· Insomnia

· Anxiety and nervousness

· Dehydration from diuresis (that irksome need to pee in large quantities)

· Indigestion

· Lack of concentration

· Muscle twitching (source: RD,

See Also

"Most experts agree that moderate caffeine intake, 200-300 mg per day or about three cups of coffee, has no long-term health implications,” registered dietician Lynn Grieger wrote in “Are You a Caffeine Addict" from ivillage.com’s health section. “Caffeine is excreted within a few hours and does not build up in our body. Pregnant women are advised to keep caffeine intake low to prevent any risk of pre-term delivery or spontaneous abortion. The American Cancer Society notes that no research connects caffeine consumption with cancer. Caffeine also does not cause cardiac problems, although sensitive individuals who experience increased heart rate from caffeine will want to steer clear of all products that contain it."

So, my advice is this: Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses per day. Water cleanses your system and washes out the sodium, which makes you retain water in your body.

Feeling pressured? Take up a physical activity such as running, basketball, baseball or hunting. One, you will look fit and your body will thank you for it in the long run and two, you will feel less of an urge to pick up a Venti Caramel Machiato with double shots.

You feel that you can’t live without those large quantities of caffeine, well, me either, but little by little take up other healthy habits. It’s hard in the beginning, but later on you can say proudly that you passed Caffeine Anonymous.

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