The vast majority of the world starts their day with a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea, people drink sodas and energy drinks all day long. There are people who take caffeine supplements for migraines, to stay awake long hours on the job, and sometimes just for the buzz. What is our caffeine addiction doing to our bodies? Just how bad is it for us?
Starting with the bad stuff, if you drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day it can lead to problems such as insomnia, jitters, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, muscle tremors, increased heart rate, and stomach upset. Some people are more sensitive than caffeine than others, and even one cup can lead to these symptoms. On the other hand, some people are more tolerant to caffeine than others, and can easily handle a little more. If you are having trouble sleeping on a regular basis it may be time to cut down, most healthy adults require 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Caffeine has negative effects when combined with certain medications, including some antibiotics, medications for asthma, and natural remedies like echinacea, check with your healthcare professional. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, if you are drinking it you need to increase your water intake. Another danger of caffeinated drinks is that people tend to drink them and exclude hydrating water, make sure you avoid this trap.
Energy drinks contain a lot of sugar, which is a bigger danger than their caffeine, also there are several other ingredients in energy drinks that make them a bad choice. Many foods, sports drinks, and over-the-counter medications also contain caffeine, so keep an eye on your labels to watch your intake, you should try to keep it under 200 mg a day.
If you decide to cut down on your caffeine intake, do it gradually, it’s easier on your body and state of mind.
Now for the good stuff, over the last several years coffee has gotten rather a bad rap, it is an addictive substance, certainly, but in the great realm of things it’s not that bad for you. Most often it is what we put in our coffee that makes it questionable, adding fat, sugar, and calories where they are not needed.
Some of the benefits of caffeine are: memory improvement, the stimulation of hair growth, muscle efficiency by increasing speed and endurance, and helps to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Studies show that the benefits outweigh the risks, with common sense and an all things in moderation approach. Studies also show that coffee drinkers, on the whole, weigh less and have more energy than their non-coffee drinking counterparts. It’s a good, all-natural way to boost energy and memory.