Many of us, myself included, rely on caffeine every single day to help our bodies wake up, function, and get moving.
Statistics show that 80% of the worlds’ population and 90% of adults in North America consume coffee on a daily basis.
What exactly is caffeine though, and how does it work? By definition it is “a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee and cacao plants. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, helping you to stay alert and preventing the onset of tiredness.”
Caffeine, when consumed moves quickly into the bloodstream and effects various organs, but primarily the brain. In our bodies we have a neurotransmitter called Adenosine. Adenosine sends signals to the brain that makes you feel sleepy and relaxed. This gradually increases over the day. Caffeine, blocks the signals that adenosine is sending to the brain, which is why we feel awake, alert, and energized from consuming caffeinated products. Caffeine also increases our adrenaline levels.
Caffeine, like many things, has its pros and cons. Let’s go through them:
-First, the obvious: Caffeine provides energy, which can fuel better workouts and make you more alert to function for activities, work, etc.
-It is also an appetite suppressant, so when trying to lose weight, caffeine can definitely help curb an appetite and boost metabolism when consuming the right amount ~300mg/day
-Prevents heart disease
-Aides lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by up to 29%
-Protects the liver
-Decreases cancer risk
-Protects the skin
-Supports gut health
-Caffeine is and addictive substance
-Many people experience side effects such as anxiety, restlessness, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, and trouble sleeping
-TOO much can cause headaches and high blood pressure
-Increases the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight in pregnant women
Clearly, the list of positives outweighs the cons as a whole. However, these benefits are associated with the amount of caffeine being consumed.
What is appropriate? “Both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider a daily intake of 400 mg of caffeine as safe. This amounts to 2–4 cups of coffee per day.”
Here are some popular, on the market items that caffeine exists in, and the amount:
- Espresso:240–720 mg.
- Coffee:102–200 mg.
- Yerba mate:65–130 mg.
- Energy drinks:50–160 mg.
- Brewed tea:40–120 mg.
- Soft drinks:20–40 mg.
- Decaffeinated coffee:3–12 mg.
- Cocoa beverage:2–7 mg.
- Chocolate milk:2–7 mg.