Coffee and jitters. Sometimes it seems like you can’t have one without getting the other. And we all know that uneasy, heart-racy feeling that comes from drinking too much coffee. This may lead some to claim coffee is just plain bad for you, but this may not be the case (I’ve written before on the potential health benefits of coffee).
The trouble probably isn’t that you’re drinking coffee–it may be how you’re drinking it that’s a problem! But a few simple practices can actually help you prevent coffee jitters. And no, none of these tips requires you to give up your morning cup of joe!
5 Simple Ways to Prevent Coffee Jitters
1. Not too much. Just because your coffee cup holds 12 ounces doesn’t mean you need to drink that much coffee at once! Find your magic dosage with coffee: enough to perk you up, but not enough to induce the jitters. This may be as little as 1/4 cup of coffee for some people, while others may tolerate a full cup–or even two! You can also try making weaker coffee, or mixing some decaf in with the regular brew. The important thing is to listen to your body and find out what works for you.
2. Not too often. If you drink a cup of coffee at 7:00 am, then another at 10:00 am, then another at 12:00 pm, then all of the sudden the coffee jitters set in! Caffeine tends to have a cumulative effect, so if the caffeine from your last cup is still in your system when you drink another cup, your body may not be able to handle it. To prevent coffee jitters, this may mean cutting back overall and skipping the 10:00 cup of joe, but if you like to drink coffee throughout the day, then try this next tip instead…
3. Drink coffee like an IV drip. Sip your coffee a little at a time instead of gulping down big mugs all at once. You can prevent coffee jitters simply by spacing your dosage throughout the day. So instead of drinking one big cup at breakfast and another big cup in the afternoon, try cutting your regular amount in half and drink it twice as often. When you don’t give your body too much caffeine all at once, it can help prevent an energy crash later on because it doesn’t send your stress hormones on a roller coaster ride.
4. Don’t skip the (real) add-ins. There’s a reason coffee tastes amazing with cream and sugar! Use real cream (or at least whole milk, preferably raw and from pastured cows) in your coffee, and sweeten it to taste with real maple syrup, raw honey, or coconut sugar. I personally always add a couple scoops of gelatin protein to my coffee as well. The natural fats, proteins and sugars in these add-ins will actually help balance your blood sugar and energy levels while preventing coffee from raising your stress hormones too high. Of course, it goes without saying that fake creamers and artificial sweeteners are not healthy add-ins!
5. Drink with a meal. Never drink coffee on an empty stomach. Along with adding healthy ingredients to your coffee, drinking coffee with a full, balanced meal can really help prevent coffee jitters (this is even more important if you like drinking your coffee black). Eat a meal that contains a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to fuel your body’s metabolic energy needs, rebuild lean tissue, and replace feel-good brain chemicals. Drinking coffee alongside a healthy meal like that will provide you with a steady stream of energy instead of setting you up for feeling wired-then-tired.
With a balanced approach and by listening to your body, you can enjoy your coffee without the jitters. Just be sure that you’re drinking coffee as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and not as a prop for negative habits (like to support poor sleep habits or an unhealthy diet).
Check out this healthy cup of coffee recipe, too.
How do you drink your coffee? Do you have any tips for preventing the coffee jitters? Comment below!