Waking up to a cup of Joe is a morning routine for most of us. Billions of people rely on caffeine to get the day going, for a pick me up, and just because they enjoy it. One day we hear it is good for us and then the next day we hear that it is bad. So what’s the right answer?? Let’s take a look at the good and bad.
Caffeine dates back to 2737 BC. It is a natural stimulant most commonly found in coffee, tea, and cacao. It is derived from nuts, seeds, and leaves that contain it. Upon consumption, the central nervous system becomes alerted. Folk lore says it was discovered by a shepherd that noticed how much energy his goats had from it. Since 80% of the world’s population has at least one drink with caffeine in it per day, caffeine is one of the top ingredients used in the world. Popularity spiked in the 1800s when soft drinks hit the market with caffeine in them. Caffeine goes straight to our bloodstream. Upon entrance, caffeine puts up a fight against adenosine which is the hormone that makes us feel tired by relaxing the brain. By blocking neurotransmitter communication with adenosine, caffeine defeats the build up of tiredness. Out brain becomes alert and focused, making caffeine quite the natural stimulant. Energy drinks, sodas, and weight loss supplements make the classic cup of coffee sound so basic.
Research points towards caffeine having the ability to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia, strokes, some forms of cancers, and Parkinson’s disease. A cup of coffee is low calorie, so it won’t hurt your waistline provided creams and sugars are skipped. We feel better able to function mentally. Fatigue disappears for the time being. Our short-term memory can improve. For some, having a caffeine beverage is stress reducing and a nice compliment to a dessert or while chatting with a friend.
That alert feeling from having caffeine, is the result of our adrenaline being stimulated. Our blood pressure raises and the fight-or-flight signal is activated. It is a natural diuretic, so the bathroom might have a higher number of visits. The acid in coffee can exasperate heart burn. Many people are hooked on caffeine. Between energy drinks, chocolates, teas, and sodas, caffeine gives a head change that makes us want more. Young people are being highly exposed to more and more caffeinated products with higher and higher amounts. Like a drug, when we have less or try to eliminate it, headaches from withdrawal can result. Overconsumption becomes harmful and can lead to high blood pressure, decreased bone density, and high blood sugar. Insomnia and palpitations can also result.
There’s a coffee shop on every corner. There’s coffee flavored candy and ice cream. Energy drinks and pre-workouts are trendy. 3 or 4 cups per day is the average amount we drink, which is about 350 milligrams of caffeine. Having more or less would influence the “good” and “bad”. Moderation has never been the easiest of our human qualities to live by. Caffeine has both “good” and “bad” qualities and that cup of Joe is a personalized experience that affects each of our bodies differently. The majority of us would say they couldn’t imagine a world without caffeine.