Most people depend on coffee to shake off sleep and get their day started. Here’s why. Coffee has caffeine, which is a stimulant. It works on your nervous system setting it into gear. Your body becomes energized and your activity level shoots up!
Apart from that, coffee is a delicious beverage, and this is why many people consume it in large quantities.
Some people love coffee so much that they drink more than three cups a day. If you love coffee that much, most likely you are hooked on caffeine, its main active ingredient.
But, just how much caffeine is in your coffee and should you be worried about it? It’s a good question, and one that we will address shortly. Before that, let’s first define the term “Caffeine”.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in most beverages and exists naturally in your cup of coffee. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, muscles and heart. However, unlike most drugs, no one is against you consuming caffeine as much as you want. In fact, more than 90 percent of all Americans consume caffeine in one form or another every day.
Effects of Caffeine on Us
Of all stimulants, caffeine is the most widely consumed across the globe. Why? Well, it is available in almost all foods and so, people forget that it is a drug. Another truth is – it is a major ingredient in foods and beverages manufactured for children.
As a stimulant, caffeine is in the same class as meth and cocaine. These are drugs we consider illegal. While some people consume caffeine in moderation, its long-term effects are both positive and negative. Read on for more on effects of caffeine on your body.
The good effects of Caffeine
Caffeine Increases Alertness
Although there is a lot of bad press associated with caffeine, reasonable quantities are beneficial to your health. For one reason or another, most people turn to coffee as it keeps sleep away. Due to its nootropic nature, caffeine blocks your brain’s adenosine receptors causing increased attention.
Evidence also suggests that regular intake protects you against age related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s although further research is required to confirm this assertion.
Caffeine Shampoo Reduces Hair Loss
Hair loss affects both men and women. In women, it often occurs before and after menopause. The good news is that daily caffeine intake and continued use of caffeine-based products reduces hair loss. In fact, applying caffeine directly to the scalp delivers it straight to your follicles.
Caffeine stimulates circulation while blocking 5 alpha reductase, an enzyme linked to hair loss in men and women. About two minutes of contact is all you need for caffeine-based products to do their magic. However, there is a catch. You need to apply it onto the scalp because consuming caffeine directly doesn’t count.
Caffeine Increases Stamina, Strength and Endurance
Caffeine is widely used by athletes looking to gain an edge over their competitors. Actually, a recent research study has confirmed that caffeine can improve upper body muscle power and strength.
With caffeine in the body, athletes have more endurance during training and other sporting activities like running and cycling.
Caffeine Boosts Metabolism
Each cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine causes 7 percent increase in your body’s metabolic rate for the next three hours. That way, you burn a lot of fat and your body generates heat within a very short time. This is why over the counter painkillers have some caffeine in them. Caffeine causes ibuprofen and other painkillers to work much faster.
It is for the same reason that caffeine is also found in weight management supplements. Some studies suggest that regular intake results in your body burning 80 to 150 kcals each day.
Caffeine is an Antioxidant
Caffeine’s antioxidant nature is the reason coffee and tea are beneficial to your health. Research shows that those who drink a minimum of two cups of coffee each day are 14 percent less likely to die from most natural causes compared to those who drink fewer cups.
Tea offers similar benefits as well. Three teacups per day means you are 24 percent less likely to die from medical issues. In addition, caffeine reduces your chances of developing basal cell carcinoma or breast cancer. Furthermore, caffeine protects you from type two diabetes.
The Bad Side of Caffeine
While caffeine in both coffee and tea has many health benefits, a high dose can have unpleasant side effects. But, do not worry yet becauseyour genes have the final say on this matter. Some people have a higher tolerance and can consume a lot of coffee without experiencing negative effects.
The same can’t be said about recent converts. If you are new to coffee, you might experience some side effects even after consuming a moderate amount. There’s no doubt coffee is a delicious drink, but too much caffeine has negative effects. Let’s look at the negative effects of caffeine.
In moderate amounts, caffeine causes you to be alert. At a higher dose, its good effects become heightened, causing issues like nervousness and anxiety. According to the diagnostic and statistical manual, a common side effect is caffeine-induced anxiety.
A higher intake of more than 1000 mg causes jitterness and nervousness in many people, while a moderate quantity leads to similar side effects in sensitive people. In addition, a moderate dose can cause elevated stress levels and rapid breathing.
Caffeine has the ability to keep you awake, which is its valued property. On the contrary, a lot of caffeine can cause you to sleep fewer hours. Research indicates that a higher dose increases the duration it takes for you to sleep. In addition, overall sleeping time will also decrease, particularly in elderly people.
Moderate quantities have no effect on sleep patterns in good sleepers or those with insomnia. Mind you, tea and coffee are not the only sources of caffeine. You can find it in some energy drinks, soda, cocoa and some medications.
For instance, you can get up to 350 mg from a single energy shot, while your typical energy drink has a roaring 500 mg in each can.
If you take caffeine towards the end of the day, it will interfere with your sleep pattern because caffeine takes longer to drain out of your system.
The average duration that caffeine lasts in your blood is about 5 hours. A typical range is from 1.5 to 9 hours in most people.
For most people, a cup of coffee in the morning helps with bowel movement. Coffee is a laxative and it causes gastrin to be released speeding up rectal activity. A decaf coffee has a similar effect although its caffeine content is really low.
Caffeine stimulates bowel movement by increasing peristaltic movement, the process that moves food through the digestive pathway. Consequently, some people experience diarrhea or loose stool.
For a while, people believed caffeine causes ulcers. Recent findings have not found any link between caffeine and stomach ulcers. However, caffeinated drinks increase gastroesophageal reflux disease in some people.
Due to its effect on the digestive system, it’s best to switch to tea if you experience any discomfort. Alternatively, you can cut back on your daily caffeine intake.
Muscle fibers may get damaged causing them to enter your blood stream. A common effect of this phenomenon is kidney failure. This condition is known as Rhabdomyolysis.
Some of the causes of this condition include infection, trauma, drug use, poison and muscle strain. In addition, Rhabdomyolysis may be caused by excessive intake of caffeine, although such cases are rare.
To lower chances of developing rhabdomyolysis, limit caffeine intake to 250 mg each day, unless a higher dose doesn’t affect you.
While caffeine has important health benefits, it is equally possible to develop a dependence. A closer look reveals that caffeine triggers release of chemicals similar to those secreted when you consume amphetamines or cocaine.
Fortunately, caffeine doesn’t cause the same level of dependence as other drugs. Even then, be careful since caffeine induces short-term physical and psychological dependence at higher doses.
Caffeine doesn’t lead to actual addition, but if you take large amounts of coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you are likely to develop a dependence.
High Blood Pressure
In general, caffeine doesn’t lead to stroke or heart disease. But, it’s known to cause increase in blood pressure as it stimulates your nervous system.
Increased blood pressure can lead to heart diseases or stroke since arteries deteriorate with time, limiting blood flow to the heart and brain.
Thankfully, caffeine raises your blood pressure temporarily. No one can explain why caffeine causes a spike in blood pressure, but its impact is greater in people who consume it regularly.
A high dose of caffeine can cause increased blood pressure in healthy individuals and in people with a slight blood pressure. Thus, ensure you are mindful of your timing and dose, particularly if your blood pressure is elevated.
Rapid Heart Rate
Due to caffeine’s stimulation properties, taking caffeine on a regular basis may cause increased heart rate.
In some cases, your heart beat rhythm may also change, particularly if you are a young person who consumes drinks high in caffeine.
Nevertheless, not everyone experiences this effect. In fact, most people suffering from heart problems can handle large quantities of caffeine. That said, if you notice any change in your cardiac rhythm, decrease the intake.
Tea, coffee and a few other beverages boost your energy level. However, once caffeine leaves your blood system, you may experience rebound fatigue.
If you want to limit the rebound effect, drink more coffee throughout the day, but that may cause loss of sleep. To benefit from caffeine’s energy reserves, take coffee in moderate proportions.
Urgency and Frequent Urination
A high caffeine coffee intake often leads to frequent urination because it stimulates the bladder. You tend to feel like going for a short call frequently once you take coffee or tea.
In addition, a high dose may cause lose of restraint even in an individual with a healthy bladder. So, if your caffeine intake causes frequent urination, cut back on caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine is a key feature in most people’s dietary intake. But, do you know how much caffeine is in your cup of coffee? Be sure to look at your daily caffeine intake, especially if you experience restlessness, anxiety or headaches.
If your daily intake exceeds 400 mg, consider cutting back. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends pregnant and breastfeeding women to seek advice on caffeine intake from qualified caregivers.
DGA hasn’t provided any guidelines on the amount of caffeine children should take. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes children’s diet should not contain stimulants.
Remember that caffeine content in each cup varies based on processing, brewing time and origin. The chart below indicates typical caffeine servings in your favorite drink. Quantities are given in oz and mL. Caffeine content is provided in mg.
|Coffee Drinks||Size in oz (mL)||Caffeine (mg)|
|Latte or mocha||8(237)||63-126|
What Affects Levels of Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee?
Each serving of coffee has a unique caffeine content because of variation in blend, quantity of ground coffee and brewing method.
Caffeine content varies based on brewing method. Drip brewing contains at most 145 mg, Frenchpress has about 107.5 mg while percolated coffee has 200 mg.
The drip method is the most popular, especially in America. While it doesn’t have as much caffeine content as the other methods, it ranks highly and you get a relatively high caffeine content per serving.
Most Americans drink two cups or more and they brew coffee using the drip method. This increases caffeine content greatly.
Caffeine Per Ounce
The caffeine content in a cup of espresso is between 45 and 75 mg. On the other hand, the drip method supplies 20 mg per ounce. Thus, an espresso maker provides much more caffeine for your money.
Typically, each serving of espresso is about 2 ounces while drip brewed coffee offers you several sizes including 2oz, 12 oz, 16 oz and 20 oz. Although espresso has more caffeine in each ounce, a large drip provides much more caffeine. Having said that, it’s not all bout size, since there are other important factors to consider.
Coffee comes in many different species. Each has a different percentage of caffeine. Of all the species, Arabica is the most common. Arabica beans make more than 70 percent of all the coffee in the world.
However, its caffeine content is much lower than in other species. For instance, Robusta has twice the caffeine content in Arabica. Thus, if you want more caffeine in your coffee cup, go for Robusta.
Roasting coffee beans cause them to loose water and their size increases. Roasting also reduces the quantity of caffeine in the beans. Thus, a medium or light roast has more caffeine compared to a darker roast.
Although a darker roast has deep flavor, it has a lower caffeine content than an average roast.
Size of grounds is another important factor. When water flows through the grind, it extracts flavors together with caffeine. If you want more caffeine to flow out, ensure to use your grinder to grind is as fine as possible.
A fine grind increases your coffee’s surface area, thus more caffeine is extracted. This explains why espresso has a higher quantity of caffeine.
The temperature of water determines your brew’s taste and caffeine concentration. Water ranging between 195 to 205 extracts more caffeine compared to water above or below this range. A cold brew has very little caffeine. To learn more about what affects caffeine levels, watch the following video.
How Much Caffeine to Consume
What is the best way to maximize on caffeine without taking too much? To receive more out of caffeine while minimizing harm to your health, take the following steps.
Don’t Use Caffeine Daily
Coffee drinkers won’t like this one, but it’s good for your health. Although it is advisable not to consume caffeine daily, if you have to, limit intake to a cup daily.
Find the Correct Dose
When taking caffeinated drinks, ensure you find the correct dose. If your daily dose makes you feel jittery, you have exceeded the limit. However, if there are no effects, your dose is too small.
Find an Alternative
Raw chocolate has a compound similar to caffeine only that it doesn’t intermingle with your nervous system. This compound encourages blood flow in the body.
Blood flow to the brain causes you to be more alert and energetic.
Caffeine is found in most drinks in America like tea and coffee. Thus, you should know how it works in the body so that you can monitor your intake.
For some people, taking coffee or other caffeinated drinks is not an issue, as long as they don’t overdo it. Still, others prefer to keep their intake under check. As long as you watch your intake, you don’t have to stay away from your daily cup of coffee.
If you are worried about quantity of caffeine, try a darker roast. Alternatively, find a species that is naturally low in caffeine content like Arabica coffee beans.
Knowing the quantity of caffeine in each of your daily cups helps to plan your intake so that you don’t overdose. Caffeine is a superb ingredient, and when taken in moderation, you will enjoy its full benefits.