Caffeine sensitivity, or caffeine intolerance, is a fairly common condition characterized by an impaired ability to metabolize it even in small amounts. The severity of this impairment varies from person to person and can either be mild or severe.
In some cases, you may not even be aware that you have a condition in which caffeine affects you negatively. According to research published on the US National Library of Medicine, variation in the ADORA2A gene is what causes people to have a caffeine sensitivity. There’s a ton of scientific research out there that explains caffeine intolerance, but we’ve now put together a a guide to the some of the symptoms of caffeine intolerance in this quick summary.
Symptoms of Caffeine Intolerance
One of the biggest implications of suffering from caffeine sensitivity is that your body cannot tolerate the least intake of caffeine in any of it’s forms without experiencing side effects. These side effects manifest themselves as signs and symptoms which show that you have caffeine intolerance. They include:
- Headache – a headache is by far the most common symptom for those who suffer from caffeine intolerance. It ranges from a mild, dull ache to a throbbing pain that can be debilitating.
- Nausea and vomiting – Many people who suffer from caffeine intolerance also experience bouts of nausea and vomiting. These can make you or your family feel ill and not go to work, if they also a caffeine intolerant.
- Anxiety and restlessness – For some people, they experience increased levels of apprehension and restlessness after ingesting any amount of caffeine.
- Palpitations – A rapid elevation in heart rate after consumption is also a symptom commonly associated with caffeine intolerance.
All these symptoms present themselves immediately after consuming even small amounts of caffeine. If you find yourself or your family members showcasing these signs, consult with your doctor before making any changes to your dietary lifestyle.
How Does Caffeine Intolerance Affect You?
Caffeine sensitivity affects everyone differently. Just as two people cannot experience the same side effects, symptoms also range from mild to severe. Some people may not be affected by one cup of coffee, while others may become seriously ill after one sip from the same cup.
In a family, if one person, like a child, becomes ill due to caffeine intolerance, they may neither be able to attend school nor play with their friends. For adults, you might find yourself lacking the energy to do small tasks or work. If you are the major care provider for the home, such things can affect your ability to care effectively for your children.
What to Do If You Have Caffeine Intolerance?
If you believe that you or someone in your family has caffeine intolerance, the best thing to do is avoid consuming caffeine. We know it is easier said than done, because of the addictive nature of caffeine by itself, but dealing with a caffeine intolerance requires binary actions. By doing this, you reduce or even eliminate the symptoms. To accomplish this on an ongoing basis, you will have to steer clear of certain foods and drinks that have high caffeine content. Examples of things to avoid are:
- Coffee and Tea- Obviously, it wouldn’t be called caffeine intolerance if coffee was on the permissible list, because they are typical examples of drinks with considerable caffeine. Nevertheless, there are some tea and coffee types with really low caffeine content that your body might permit. Foodlama helps you easily find and recommend food that you and your household prefer or tolerate.
- Soda- Soda contains high amounts of caffeine. However, there are some brands that you can still enjoy. For example, there are caffeine-free diet soda options. These include Coca-Cola Zero and Sprite Zero. Regardless, we would still recommend that you pay strict attention to the ingredients labelling of the soda you consume.
- Tablets and Pills- What you should know is that some medications contain traces of caffeine, especially those used in pain management and alleviation. Sometimes, the caffeine component is so minute, you barely notice. However, if you know you are caffeine intolerant, you should pay attention to the composition of the tablets and pills recommended to you and let your GP know to recommend proper substitutes.
- Chocolate and cocoa- Though the caffeine content in chocolate and cocoa is high, some brands are processed to reduce the caffeine content. This means you can enjoy them without fear of getting sick. Examples include Cadbury’s chocolate and Hershey’s.
To better understand your food reactions, you can read this primer on the major differences between milk allergy and lactose intolerance.
What are Some Alternatives?
Fortunately, there are many alternative foods and drinks you can eat and drink that do not contain caffeine and are also widely available at most grocers. They include:
- Milk and soy milk – Whole milk is a viable replacement for coffee and tea as it contains no caffeine and will not affect your health. They also do give the feeling of refreshment. Just be sure that you do not also do not have lactose intolerance or milk allergy as this can leave you much worse off.
- Fruit juices – Fruit juices provide you with a dose of vitamins and minerals. They can also help in rehydration without causing any caffeine-associated side effects.
- Cereal – Cereals with low to zero caffeine content are available in most grocery shops on online stores. You want to be sure though to read the allergy and “may contain” advice to be sure it is a good fit for your entire household.
- Black tea – Drinking black tea is one of the most realistic alternative to drinking coffee. As a result, there’s an abundance of black tea out there that fit this bill, and you are guaranteed to find one at your favorite grocer.
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In the End
Online grocery sites do not cater well to people who shop with dietary restrictions or preferences. Tedious reading of individual ingredients list of products and poor recommendations leaves consumers tired, frustrated, and stuck with what they are used to. Foodlama helps you discover what you or your household can or cannot have at your favorite grocers and makes the best substitute recommendations for what you cannot have. Click here to learn more about foodlama.