Coffee and your health


Every time you drink tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, or cola you are giving your body a ‘dose’ of caffeine. Along with nicotine and alcohol, caffeine is one of the three most widely used mood -affecting and addictive compound in the world.

If you have more than two or three caffeine drinks per day your ‘habit’ may be affecting you emotionally and physically much more powerfully than you might expect.  Its important to understand what is caffeine, how much is your daily consumption and also its effects on your body and health.

What is caffeine?

It is a potent and quick-acting compound which produces an effect similar to the stress response in our bodies. Caffeine affects each person differently, depending on individual circumstances such as weight, build, age, gender and individual sensitivities. It has an almost instant effect on your mindbody which usually continues to influence your state for 6-8 hours afterwards.  

The richest sources of caffeine are tea, coffee, cola drinks, some over-the-counter medications, chocolate, and cocoa.

As little as 20 mgs of caffeine can produce noticeable body and mood changes.

How much caffeine is there in your daily drink?

Find below a rough guide to how much caffeine you may be taking on a daily basis…

An average cup of tea contains around 50 mgs of caffeine. 

An average cup of instant coffee contains around 70-100 mgs. Instant decaffeinated coffee contains about 3 mgs.

A 6 oz cup of espresso coffee (much larger than the normal cafe cup, incidentally) contains about 80-90 mgs. A single-hit cappuccino will contain the same amount.

Filter coffee (called ‘drip’ in the US) can contain 25-50% more caffeine than instant.

A 340 ml or 12 oz can of regular or diet cola contains between 35 and 45 mgs. of caffeine depending on the brand  

Some so-called ‘energy drinks’ contain very high doses of caffeine – equivalent to to 4 or more cups of strong coffee in one dose! (3)

One ounce or 28 grams of chocolate contains about 10-15 mgs .

 

(An average cup is about 6 UK fluid ounces or 170 ml. Your precise intake of caffeine will, of course, vary with the strength of the drink. One person’s mug of instant coffee might have 75 mgs while another person might prepare a 200 mgs hit)

 

Effects of drinking coffee on your health-

Caffeine is best known for its stimulant, or “wake-up,” effect. Once a person consumes caffeine, it is readily absorbed by the body and carried around in the bloodstream, where its level peaks about one hour after consumption. Caffeine mildly stimulates the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It affects the brain and results in elevated mood, decreased fatigue, and increased attentiveness, so a person can think more clearly and work harder. It also increases the heart rate, blood flow, respiratory rate, and metabolic rate for several hours. When taken before bedtime, caffeine can interfere with getting to sleep or staying asleep.

With frequent use, tolerance to many of the effects of caffeine will develop. At doses of 600 milligrams (about six cups of coffee) or more daily, caffeine can cause nervousness, sweating, tenseness, upset stomach, anxiety, and insomnia. It can also prevent clear thinking and increase the side effects of certain medications. This level of caffeine intake represents a significant health risk and should be strictly avoided.

Although, moderate use of caffeine is not likely to cause any health problems, it is the higher intake, which is related to health risks. Moderate caffeine consumption does not appear to adversely affect cardiovascular health.

A few suggestions for chronic coffee drinkers –

  • Caffeine appears to increase the excretion of calcium, a mineral needed for healthy bones, so switch to herbal teas or black tea for beverages. Moderate caffeine intake does not seem to cause a problem with calcium, as long as one is consuming the recommended amount (adult men and women should be taking between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium, depending on age and gender).
  • Although, moderate caffeine consumption does not appear to be of concern to women trying to get pregnant, excessive caffeine intake has been associated with miscarriages and low birth weight babies. So, it is better to cut the intake to not more than a cup or two, if you are expecting.
  • Because children have developing nervous systems, it is important to moderate their caffeine consumption. For children, major sources of caffeine include soft drinks and chocolate. Replacing such drinks with fruit juices, milk shakes and lemonade is advised.
  • Caffeine may be useful as part of a weight control program because it increases the rate at which the body burns calories for three or more hours after being consumed and also reduces appetite. But be careful to be taking not more than 2-3 cups a day or you would be disrupting your hormonal and metabolic functions.
  • Caffeine’s ability to improve physical performance is well known among well-trained athletes. Through a mechanism that is not completely understood, caffeine seems to increase endurance and speed in some situations. But be careful as excessive use of caffeine may cause restlessness and unwanted anxiety before a sport event.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Coffee and your health

  1. Thanks for the info on caffeine, coffee, and colas. About 5 years ago I cut way back on all of these and have had many benefits. Some of these are a more relaxed physiology, less restlessness in the mind and body, and more emotional stability.

    Overall I also find more energy, as with caffeine I always found that the increased short term energy it would give was more than neutralized by more tiredness later.

    Like

  2. Hi! I am glad that you found the article informative!

    Yes, you are right -caffeine tends to give you that initial alertness boost but also leaves you with an emotional yo-yo effect …..on the other hand, having green tea is great as it is not only low in caffeine but also high in disease fighting anti oxidants. I have switched from coffee mugs to green tea and am noticing substantial improvements!

    Like

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