Is Caffeine Your Friend or Foe?

Is Caffeine Your Friend or Foe?

Ever thought too much about that cup of comfort you down every morning before you can face the day? Well, Today we have some lovely tips to help you be a bit more informed about the coffee we all love so much.

Around 90% of Americans consume caffeine in some form every day. In fact, over half of adults in the U.S. consume over 300 milligrams of caffeine on a daily basis. But do we know exactly what we are consuming and the health benefits and risks?

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is found naturally in many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa nuts. We generally come across it in the form of tea, coffee, cola and chocolate. Caffeine is also added to other items such as energy drinks and found in some drugs, such as cold and pain medication. 

Caffeine is a stimulant and activates the central nervous system. It can combat tiredness and improve concentration and focus. The effects of caffeine can kick in as quickly as 15 minutes after consuming it and last for up to 6 hours.

Health benefits of caffeine
As well as stimulating the mind and body, there are also a number of health benefits linked with caffeine.

Some studies have found that consuming three cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of liver cancer by half, while drinking four cups a day could even lower the risk of throat and mouth cancer. Other studies suggest that caffeine could protect against conditions like Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and strokes.

There have also been studies looking into the relationship between caffeine and losing weight. Scientists at Germany's Hanover Medical School believe that the high caffeine content can help the body fight steady weight gain. Researchers suggested that by combining two to four daily coffees with regular exercise, could help to keep weight off.

The negative effects of caffeine
But there are also negative effects of consuming caffeine, particularly in high doses and on a regular basis. Consuming over 600mg of caffeine a day, could trigger issues like irritability, nervousness, insomnia, a faster heartbeat and cause upset stomachs. Caffeine has also been linked to causing headaches and triggering migraines.

Are there benefits to switching to decaffeinated?
Decaffeinated coffee is made from coffee beans that have had at least 97% of their caffeine taken out. This process is either done by using water, organic solvents or carbon dioxide to wash the coffee beans. Then the solvent is removed and the beans are then roasted and ground. 

Changing to decaffeinated might seem like a healthier option and the obvious way to help ease insomnia. But for those people who want to avoid any of the other negative issues linked to coffee, they should not simply assume that giving up regular coffee is the solution. In fact, decaffeinated coffee can cause a number of health problems, including increasing the risk of heart attacks, raising cholesterol and can interfere with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

So, should you give up coffee?
The effects of caffeine can significantly vary depending on the individual and can even metabolize at different rates from person to person. Many experts believe that there is no need for most people to avoid drinking coffee or other caffeine drinks. It's believed that the health benefits of coffee outweigh any negative effects of caffeine. Coffee however, is not recommended for those who have conditions in which a short-term increase in heart rate and blood pressure could put strain on the heart. 

 

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