According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, nearly 90% of all adults and 76% of children consume caffeine on a daily basis. Although some of this intake is involuntary, are there any benefits to this American habit? Fortunately for all us coffee drinkers, yes!
What are some of caffeine's benefits?
Caffeine has been found to have benefits for your mood, your performance and your health. Let’s take a look at how caffeine can positively affect some parts of the body:
· The Brain: Caffeine causes the release of dopamine, a chemical that stimulates the area of your gray matter responsible for alertness, problem solving, and pleasure. A study done at Harvard found that men who drink 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day are half as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as those who skip the java -- presumably because caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active.
· The Heart: Harvard researchers determined that drinking more than 6 cups of coffee a day didn't boost the chance of developing heart disease. Scientists at Brooklyn College found that men who drank 4 cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 53% lower risk of dying of heart disease than those who never took a sip.
· Muscles: Caffeine may also have a direct effect on your muscles by affecting the calcium/adenosine balance during muscle contraction, resulting in muscle contractions
· The Liver: In 2005, Harvard University researchers determined that drinking 5 cups of coffee a day cuts in half the risk of developing diabetes; scientists aren't sure why coffee may have a protective effect against diabetes, but credit its high level of disease-fighting antioxidants
Is there anyone who should NOT consume caffeine?
· Pregnant women
· Those with high blood pressure
· Those with allergies to caffeine
What are some caffeine cautions?
Caffeine withdrawal is one of the biggest some people experience. Withdrawal effects can range from mild discomfort, little irritability, to being serious, pretty bad headaches. It can interact with some medications and supplements, like antibiotics, bronchodilators, and Echinacea supplements.
Similarly, caffeine in moderation can have benefits outlined above, but exceeding several cups a day can be problematic. Drinking caffeine packed drinks multiple times a day can lead to serious health issues, so remember that moderation is always key. High doses of caffeine can cause anxiety, dizziness, headaches, and jitters. Depending on when you drink the caffeine, it can have an effect on your regular sleeping patterns and cause dehydration.