As I am drinking coffee and writing these words, my thoughts and ideas are popping up uncontrollably and I can’t sit still. I feel like the littlest distractions are vying for my attention and I feel anxious that I can’t just focus on one. Coffee is definitely not for everyone and affects everyone differently. And for some the love of coffee just extends to Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream.
But apart from Häagen-Dazs, coffee is used for an important part of everyday life, the workplace. Most people I know, especially the working population relies on caffeine, to get them through their day. Some people I know have up to 5 cups of coffee a day or more! This, I always thought, could not be healthy. There have been many conflicting reports on whether caffeine is healthy or detrimental for you. Since it is critical to understand what you are putting in your body especially at high frequencies, I will do my best to highlight the most solid findings and explain the current conclusion one can sum up from the credible research out there. BUT PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: I am not an expert, I am just eager to learn and spread my findings, so if you really want to learn more I would recommend checking out my links and the specialists on the subject.
How does caffeine operate in the human body?
Caffeine permeates easily through body membranes and tissue compartments entering the blood stream through your mouth, throat and stomach lining. It takes just 45 minutes for 99% of the caffeine to be absorbed. The half-life of caffeine is the time it takes for the body to metabolize one half of the total amount of caffeine. The half-life in caffeine ranges from 2.5 to 10 hours. After this time caffeine has either a little or no effect, such as a change in mood or alertness, which lasts about 2 to 5 hours.
I can’t stress enough my favorite word “moderation.” The level of moderation may change from one person to the next. Some people (like me) may only need one cup of coffee to feel jittery, sometimes even irritable or anxious, so I try alternative ways of boosting my energy (which I’ll talk about in my next post). Caffeine tolerance stems from how much coffee you are used to drinking, your body mass, age, health condition (especially if you have anxiety issues), and the medications you use (Here is an article listing medications that affect your caffeine intake). Judging that someone is completely free from caffeine depends on a person’s ability to metabolize caffeine rather than absorb it and it may take the full day to eliminate all traces of caffeine from the body.
- Increase in blood pressure
- Caffeine is considered a drug so it should be treated like one, you should be mentally keeping track of how many doses you’ve had because too much can lead to:
- Overdose (a.k.a Caffeine Intoxication)
- Can cause lower birth weight in newborns
- Because of these following factors caffeine can be correlated to the increased risk of coronary artery disease and stroke:
- Stimulates adrenaline
- Inhibits insulin
- Increases blood pressure
- Can cause acne
- Can cause insomnia, hypertension and gastroesophageal
- Coffee has a high level of antioxidants
- Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet, but not because it has the highest amount of antioxidants, because people drink it so frequently.
- Through tests on rats (more information about why a rat brain is similar to a human’s) it is found that caffeine boosts cognition and guards the brain from inflammation and oxidative stress, which leads to cognitive, motor and neuronal decline. This mean that your ability to reason, memorize, perceive (cognition); your ability to move (motor) and your nervous system function (neuronal) are kept in tack for longer.
- Can enhance exercise performance
- Can reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Coffee is found to have properties that mobilize fat from fat tissue
- Coffee drinking is an evident factor in social networking in the US and throughout the world, which can improve a person’s social life and quality of life.
So is caffeine healthy or not?
Much research has been done to further exploit the truths of caffeine, yet there are still conflicting findings and the long-term effects of caffeine are also not concrete enough. Although there are findings that coffee can have healthy benefits, coffee cannot be considered to be a healthy supplement to your diet without more in-depth research, more specifically with people who are sick. Most of what we know about coffee comes from studies with healthy participants. Also there are many factors that numerical results do not take into account, such as the sick being prone to avoiding coffee, or the habitual coffee drinker having more of a booming social life because he or she tends to take more coffee breaks. Therefore some experiments are more skewed than others, because of the undetermined factors. Overall, the psychosocial aspects of caffeine, especially in coffee, (since it is one of the most popular beverages consumed) should be analyzed and developed as well as other factors mentioned above.
There is truth in the fact that caffeine can exacerbate certain health conditions, so please listen to your doctors if they tell you to stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is, once again, considered a drug so it is of great importance for all you intelligent, worldly women out there to just be aware of how many cups you have a day and if it is difficult to get that energetic feeling you used to get (and you are going to the bathroom like crazy) it might be time for a coffee detox to restore yourself to a more economic and healthy caffeine tolerance. The average caffeine consumption is around 2 cups of coffee per day, so with this in mind The Mayo Clinic recommends that people not to go over to 5 to 6 cups per day. Once again, moderation is key and only then will caffeine give you the benefits that are still becoming more evident.