According to some unofficial statistics, approximately 2/3 of the world’s population cannot imagine a life without coffee. Regardless of whether it is a latte, cappuccino, espresso or a long cup of Joe, many of us rely on this beverage to kick start the day.
As a regular coffee drinker, I often wondered if this magical elixir that wakes me up in the morning is doing me more harm than good. In addition, because I’ve been enjoying coffee ever since I can remember, I cannot help but ask myself if this beverage is as dangerous as many describe it. After all, I have been drinking coffee for quite some time and I’m perfectly fine, thank you.
As expected, the opinions regarding coffee and its active ingredient, caffeine, are contradictory. While some people strongly believe coffee is a powerful drug that causes addictions, others provide solid information on its many health benefits. I’m not going to take sides on this one, as I prefer providing you with the data and letting you judge for yourself if coffee can be classified as friend or foe.
The health benefits of caffeine
In an attempt to clarify the exact effects caffeine has on the human body, several studies have come across unexpected positive effects. Therefore, moderate coffee consumption can:
- Increase stamina during soliciting physical activities (exercising)
- Ease depression because caffeine is known to increase the dopamine secretion in the brain
- Help drinkers keep their eyes opened in unexpected ways and protect against eyelid spasms
- Increase memory and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s
- Reduces the muscle pain experienced post workouts (by up to 48% according to a research conducted by the University of Georgia)
- Caffeine is a hair growth stimulator (and a possible androgenic alopecia remedy, although the research did not find a clear link between caffeine and baldness)
- Increases the levels of energy when combined with carbohydrates (studies show this combination can replenish glycogen concentration in the muscles a lot faster)
- Caffeine can act like a detoxifier for the liver and colon
- Induces a state of alertness, extremely useful and preferable to sleep in certain situations (when you have to drive, for instance)
What happens if you don’t drink coffee?
We’ve all experienced the energy boost of the first cup of Joe in the morning. But, if you are an avid coffee drinker, then you know that one cup is just not going to cut it. Although most of us find it hard to admit it, we are addicted to caffeine beverages and frequently experience what physicians call withdrawal symptoms.
Without further ado, here is a list of the common mild symptoms you can experience when your body literarily yells for caffeine:
- It is impossible to concentrate on anything
- Extreme irritability, when everyone and everything gets on your nerves
- Annoying headaches (the headaches caused by the lack of caffeine usually start behind the eyes and are persistent in the front of the head)
- Temporary moderate depression, which can be dangerous if a person is predisposed to depression or already suffers from it
- Sleepiness is probably the most common withdrawal sign
Depending on how much coffee you are used to drink during the day, these mild signs can become severe and affect the quality of your life. As I previously mentioned temporary blues can become a big issue for those suffering from depression. At the same time, a day without coffee for a person who is used to having several cups can lead to:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle stiffness and pain
Is there such thing as drinking too much coffee?
The short answer is yes, caffeine overdose is a reality. Nowadays, there is an abundance of products (foods and drinks) on the market that contain caffeine, even though most of us believe that the only source of caffeine in our diet is coffee. The overdose typically installs due to the fact that you ingest a great quantity of coffee at once without allowing the body sufficient time to react.
Generally speaking, if you experience jitters, nausea or an increased heartbeat, then that is your queue to take it easy for the next couple of hours. Ignoring these clear indicators will lead to more severe symptoms (vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, palpitations, etc.)and even cardiac arrest.
Hi, I’m Chad and besides the vapor cigarette niche, I enjoy blogging about various health and lifestyle topics.