The health effects of caffeine have been a topic of discussion for quite a while now. Let’s discuss its effects from a health perspective and classify them as positive effects and negative effects.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is commonly found in cacao plants, soda, energy drinks, tea, and coffee, etc. It is estimated that it is consumed by 80 percent of the world population regularly in one form or another. It is a natural stimulant that causes stimulation in an individual’s brain and central nervous system upon consummation.
Although it cannot be said for certain when caffeine was first discovered there is a prevailing legend. This legend places the discovery in ancient China by an Emperor named Shen Nung. According to the legend in 2437 BCE some tea leaves were into the boiling water of the Emperor and upon drinking the water he was invigorated. This legend being true or not, it is a fact that caffeine has been consumed for thousands of years by human beings.
Whenever the original use of this substance may be, this psychoactive substance is used today widely across the globe. It has become a part of the life of a lot of people and we should be aware of its benefits and harms likewise.
Upon consuming caffeine, it is quickly absorbed by the guts into the bloodstream and is then broken down by the liver into different compounds. The most major effect is experienced by the brain where it blocks the effects of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel tired and relaxing your brain. This process results in increased alertness and helps you stay awake.
According to some studies consuming caffeine can help one lose weight and boosts metabolism. Caffeine may increase a human’s fat burning up to 13 percent and metabolism up to 11 percent. Consumption of 300 mg of caffeine per day may result in a loss of 79 calories per day. It must be noted that the effects, although there, maybe small in the long run.
Protects Against Heart Diseases
Contrary to the popular myth caffeine actually reduces the risk of heart diseases in people. Men and Women who drink about 1 to 4 cups of coffee daily have decreased risk of heart diseases according to some studies. However, caffeine might increase heart rate upon consumption. Although this increase in heart rate is generally small.
Protects Liver and Reduces Risk of Cancer
Consumption of caffeine may help reduce the risk of cirrhosis (liver damage) as well as reducing the risk of lung cancer. It also decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.
Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
According to some studies consumption of coffee has been shown to result in decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Just like consumption of caffeine increases alertness a higher dose can result in Anxiety in individuals. Depending upon personal tolerance a larger amount of caffeine, or even a modest amount, can result in an increase in stress and anxiety in individuals according to some studies.
Although caffeine allows you to stay awake, this ability also results in Insomnia in larger doses. Studies show that high caffeine intake results in a longer time needed to fall asleep as well as a decrease in the total sleep time.
Caffeine has many benefits when taken in a moderate amount although it can cause adverse effects a higher dose is taken. So, one must make sure that they use caffeine in a healthy way.
Like any other food/edible caffeine should also be used in moderate amounts, too much of anything can have side effects.