Living with Bipolar Disorder and Caffeine
At the end of the day, following a proper sleep schedule, staying active constantly, eating the right foods can do wonders for bipolar symptoms. The question I get asked most often is whether caffeine should be consumed or not.
I know there are mixed feelings regarding caffeine and bipolar disorder- when I was first diagnosed my doctor told me it was fine to drink coffee. About four months later, my new psychiatrist brought up that it was highly important that I avoid caffeine at all times. This yes, no type of relationship continued, some doctors saying it was fine and others telling me, no caffeine whatsoever.
What I later realized was that they failed to mention that depending on where I was in my cycle, where my hormones where, my food intake that day, my activity level and so much more would be what would decide if I should or should not consume caffeine.
At the end of the day, caffeine is a stimulate and acts as an antidepressant by elevating serotonin levels as well as dopamine levels.
There are months I drink coffee 5 days out of the week, there are months when coffee is saved for a special occasion, there are weeks when I don’t touch it. It all depends on my mood if my mood has been more wishy-washy I tend to stay away from stimulants. If I am irritable caffeine will only heighten this feeling so I also stay away from coffee or matcha and even limit my chocolate intake since it does contain caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant at the end of the day and can kick manic tendencies and also mania up. When I feel like I sense more of my manic side appearing I avoid coffee, any sort of stimulants that can increase this.
At the same time research has shown that caffeine has neuropsychiatric effects like increasing motor behaviors and can help with concentration and memory.
I really pay attention to how I am feeling before I make any decision on whether I should or should not consume something.
While I stick to CBD coffee when consuming it at home since it balances out the jitteriness I can get from drinking coffee at times when out and about I like to make sure I add some healthy fats to keep it from sending my hormones into a frenzy.
I also like to take a couple days out of the week from caffeine if I’ve been consuming foods with a lot of caffeine on the regular.
People ask if I have a personal preference to matcha or coffee and to be honest, my family is Colombian and we speak coffee fluently, but matcha is amazing and I love the earthiness it has along with the mood-boosting effects it has.
COFFEE VS MATCHA: WHICH IS BETTER
Matcha has incredible mood-boosting properties thanks to theanine- an amino acid that has the some of the same psychoactive properties a lot of psychiatrist medication like altering your mood and consciousness.
WHAT IS MATCHA?
Matcha is essentially green tea. What sets it apart from the green tea bags you buy is that the twenty days before harvest is shaded from direct sunlight in order to amp up the chlorophyll levels and produce the amino acid L-theanine. Then after being hand-picked, set out to dry then getting rid of their stems before they are ground up into the beautiful, earthy green powder you see.
Apart from the way it is made, when you are consuming matcha you are consuming the entire leaf- since it is ground up-offering the full effects it has to offer.
When sourcing your matcha it comes in different grades while it isn’t officially regulated the best way to distinguish them is between ceremonial and culinary grade.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CEREMONIAL AND CULINARY GRADE
Ceremonial grade matcha is made from the young, most tender leaves leaving you with a smoother texture. This is what you want to make your lattes with or drink it plain with warm water. Ceremonial grade matcha is going to be more expensive than the culinary grade.
Culinary grade matcha is made from the older leaves and would be what I would recommend when you are baking or adding it to your recipes.
Store matcha in a cool dark place.
COFFEE. THE MAGICAL BEAN.
Coffee like matcha also has a lot going for it with a single cup of coffee containing B2, B5, B3, and manganese as well as potassium. Coffee is also insanely high in antioxidants.
Coffee can help with so many different things from helping you feel less tired and increasing your energy levels, caffeine also blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine, which causes norepinephrine and dopamine to increase. This increase can help with various aspects of brain function like your mood, memory, energy levels, and your mental function.
When purchasing coffee make sure you are buying fair trade, organic coffee since it is the most heavily sprayed crop with pesticides.
I like to make sure I am getting good quality beans, and stick to local coffee roasters. This past year I started to buy a CBD coffee that is local here in Colorado.
The question remains what is better coffee or matcha. That decision I leave up to you, test out matcha and coffee and see what which one helps you thrive the most.
Do you need another cozy, warming recipe in your life, that isn’t full of caffeine? Check out my Mood Boosting Hot Chocolate.