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Ask the experts: Caffeine withdrawal

Q. I have just been advised that I have to stop my (20-year) habit of drinking caffeine-containing drinks. I am going through caffeine withdrawal at the moment and I am at a loss as to what caffeine-free replacements I can enjoy.

A. HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:

Caffeine is found in a wide range of drinks including coffee, some types of tea and many other beverages such as colas and energy drinks.

The good news is there is a huge number of alternatives which are readily available if you want to avoid caffeine. Also, be assured that feelings of withdrawal won’t last for long: you just need to allow your body time to get used to functioning without the effects of caffeine.

In all supermarkets you will be able to find decaffeinated coffee in both instant and ground varieties depending on what you prefer. You will also find that most cafés offer decaffeinated coffee as well as regular, too.

There are a couple of tea companies who make decaffeinated black tea and decaffeinated green tea (where the caffeine has been removed) and these are available at most supermarkets.

There is also a huge variety of herbal teas which are naturally caffeine-free. Some of the most common varieties include peppermint, chamomile and fruit teas. All supermarkets sell a range of these, most often in bags much like ‘regular tea’ but there is also a fantastic range of loose leaf teas which taste delicious and which you can buy in health food stores, some cafés and online. Hot water with a couple of slices of lemon or a few fresh mint leaves is another idea for a delicious warm caffeine-free drink.