A few months ago my work week was abruptly altered, and the two days a week I had been seeing patients in a private practice were replaced with working on my laptop in a coffee shop. The change in venue also increased my caffeine consumption. The one coffee I previously sipped on per day in between seeing patients became 2-3 cups per day as I justified monopolizing my seat at the local Starbucks for hours.
A week or two into this new routine, I began experiencing migraines with a vengeance. I have experienced monthly migraines for years chalked up by my PCP and OBGYNs to be the commonly experienced “menstrual migraine” but now I began to experience them daily. The migraines I was experiencing were debilitating and not only produced unmanageable head pain but also severe nausea. Knowing it probably wasn’t coincidental that my migraine frequency and severity increased just days into a new daily routine, the first change I made in effort to find the culprit for the cause was eliminating coffee, and I did it cold turkey. As soon as coffee was completely withdrawn from my daily routine, my migraines disappeared.
Incidentally, I also noticed some other positive developments after eliminating coffee from my diet, most notably was a near complete diminishing of my anxiety, an issue I never realized was as wearying as it was until it was gone. I have had issues with anxiousness and worry for awhile, but my symptoms seemed to heighten after the births of Bennett and Austyn. It was causing irritability that was often negatively impacting time spent with my husband and children. I originally had planned to reinstate my previous one cup of coffee per day assuming my migraines remained quiescent, but experiencing how much eliminating it entirely enriched my daily life and positively affected my mental health, I have sworn off coffee completely for the foreseeable future.
And upon further research, it seems I am not alone. Coffee is a stimulant and activates the sympathetic nervous system resulting in faster heartbeat, an increase in body temperature and increased breathing rate which results in restlessness, insomnia and nervousness. “Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder” is even a subclass in the DSM diagnostic manual. Caffeine sensitivity is rooted in DNA with some people wired to be able to metabolize the substance differently than others. And this is not to say coffee is harmful to everybody. In fact, many studies have found that coffee in moderation can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.
As a mom of two amazing but sprightly children under 3, I started researching other options to get a healthy boost I needed to keep up with them throughout the day. I have noticed fellow Starbucks patrons slurping down a green slimey beverage that I always thought looked pretty unappetizing, but I reluctantly ordered a matcha latte at Starbucks one morning and the peculiarly colored beverage was not quite as horrible as I was anticipating. In fact, I found it pretty delicious.
Matcha powder is ground from whole green tea leaves and is packed with catechins, natural antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and is protective against degenerating diseases and prevents aging. One specific catechin found in matcha, EGCg, may even help prevent cancer by prohibits tumor cell proliferation. Matcha also boosts your metabolism and helps burn fat. I have found that drinking a matcha latte provides me with a calmer, longer-lasting energy and I do not experience the jittery anxiety I was previously experiencing with coffee. Although matcha contains approximately the same amount, if not less, caffeine as a cup of joe, the release of the caffeine is slowed by an amino acid called L-Theanine for a more relaxed effect. This amino acid is also known to improve concentration and cognition.
Thanks to matcha, coffee is a thing of the past and I have remained migraine and anxiety free for the past 2 months. I highly recommend trialing removing coffee from your diet if you too suffer from frequent migraines and anxiety.
- Levy Andrea. Why Drinking Coffee Might Be Fueling Your Anxiety. https://www.health.com/anxiety/how-coffee-increases-anxiety. Updated January 8, 2019.
- Ware Megan. Is Matcha Good for You, And How Can You Use It. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305289.php Updated October 19, 2017.