Caffeine and coffee is a lifesaver for most people, giving us energy and a chance to get through the day when our eyes just don’t want to stay open anymore. Its influence on people’s daily lives is so big that there are whole countries who specialise in exporting coffee. The main component behind its success comes from caffeine, which can be found in over 60 different types of plants such as coffee beans, tea leaves and even cacao beans. However, like all good things, it has its own set of drawbacks.
It isn’t unknown that caffeine offers a lot of benefits. When taken in small doses, it can energise the body and wake us up, especially if you have to pull an all-nighter. Some studies also associate caffeine with being able to treat liver cancer, memory loss and even lower risks of suicide or Diabetes.
Not just that, it acts as a stimulant. Its stimulant effects help energise the body but some say it also increases our concentration and performance, which is why energy drinks have become mainstay in the world of athletes where it helps revitalise their bodies before or after a workout.
Of course, caffeine has its limits too and going over those limits could be bad for anyone. For starters, experts advise that an adult can only have up to 400 milligrams (though some argue for less) of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to four cups of coffee. This can vary depending on various circumstances, such as the age of the person or their condition as well as the way they drink it, after all, soda and energy drinks don’t contain nearly as much caffeine as coffee.
Children especially should avoid large quantities as much as they can, as the effects that caffeine has on the nervous system could prove to be too much for their bodies if left unchecked. The same can be said for teenagers. Similarly, elderly people should also watch out for their caffeine consumption. As we get older, DHEA, melatonin and other vital hormones decline, so having a lot of caffeine can lead to dehydration which in turn speeds up the aging process.
Besides the age factor, consuming more than 300-400 mg of caffeine a day can create other side effects such as migraines, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, increased heartbeats and muscle tremors, among others. Those that suffer from anxiety disorders or have conditions that can affect their nervous systems should also be careful as the effects of caffeine can vary depending on what we can take.
Another big factor against caffeine, and one that people seem to want to forget, is that it’s a psychoactive drug. Caffeine’s effects don’t just stop at our bodies, they can influence our brains as well and if we become too reliant on it we can even develop an addiction. Once that happens, it can lead to withdrawal syndrome and can bring headaches, depression and other types of side effects with it.
So is caffeine good for us? Well, only in moderation. If you need a shot to get you started in the day or boost your energy then it’s definitely something you should try. However, if you keep going back to the coffee or soda machine to get that fix or start feeling strange symptoms when you have too much or too little of it, then you should worry. In the end it’s another one of those things where too much can end badly.
Photo Credits: Medium, LiveStrong and Men’s Journal