Caffeine is consumed in large quantities all over the world. It has become an integral part in modern-day society, with millions of people enjoying it at any time of the day. Conversations revolve around it, friendships are strengthened and relationships are built over it. Can you imagine an office day without your morning cup of coffee? Can you envision a rainy day without a mug of tea?
There are many conflicting reports over the benefits and risks of caffeine on the body. So what are the facts and what are the myths of caffeine? What are the rights and wrongs of coffee and tea drinking?
The average American is said to consume an average of 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks (i.e. coffee) a day. Caffeine is loosely considered to be a drug, and that being said, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. It is also said to be one of the oldest kind of beverages in the world, as man is said to be brewing caffeine based drink since the Stone Age.
Whether they’re right or wrong for you, you decide. Here are the facts on caffeine:
- Caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headaches, lethargy and constipation among others. This is because caffeine is addictive, and the higher your usual dose, the harder your caffeine crash will be. Just notice how your taste bud and brain perks up when the thought of coffee is suggested to you. I bet you are thinking of preparing yourself a cup just now.
- Decaffeinated coffee and tea gets rid of most of the caffeine but leaves trace marks. About 2% of the original caffeine content is still left in the beverage you are drinking. That being said, if you would like to lower your caffeine intake, decaf is still the way to go.
- Caffeine temporarily increases alertness in individuals. This is why people who want to stay awake for any reason like reviewing for an exam, take loads of coffee. It doesn’t actually supply you with new energy, it just plugs receptor cells that tell your body that it’s tired.
- Too much caffeine can cause tremors, especially in the hands. It could also cause clamminess and loss of coordination.
- Coffee has strong antioxidant properties (although the effect on the body is yet to be proven) and have been shown to help decrease the occurrence of type 2 diabetes in adult, as well as heart diseases and strokes. This however, might be attributed to other properties of coffee and not exclusively on caffeine.
- People who are regular coffee drinkers have been shown to have decreased cases of Parkinson’s disease. Coffee has also been shown to have liver protecting properties.
- Tea has a lot of polyphenols that give it its antioxidant properties, and tea also has less caffeine per cup compared to coffee.
- Caffeine can increase the symptoms of PMS in women and can reduce fertility in women who are trying to have children.