Before you think I’m here to diss caffeine, let me tell you that I love coffee and tea. I drink at least one cup of either every single day. That’s actually why I wanted to write this post. I want to learn more about caffeine and the benefits and dangers from it so I can make healthier choices, and I hope you will at least read this information and then decide if you want to join me!
First of all, what is caffeine? Well, Medical News Today has this to say:
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider caffeine to be both a drug and a food additive. They recommend a maximum intake of 400 mg a day.
In prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, caffeine is used to treat tiredness and drowsiness, and to improve the effect of some pain relievers.
It belongs to a group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants.
Foods containing caffeine can help restore mental alertness.
Caffeine’s use as an alertness aid should only be occasional. It is not intended to replace sleep and should not regularly be used for this purpose.
In the United States (U.S.), more than 90 percent of adults use caffeine regularly, with an average consumption of more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. This is more caffeine than in two 6-ounce cups of coffee or five 12-ounce cans of soft drink.”
Wow! That’s a lot to take in, but probably nothing new to my coffee drinkers out there. Well, let’s look at 4 things you may not know about caffeine.
1. Caffeine Can Be Healthy in Moderate Amounts
You see, coffee drinkers, I’m not dissing caffeine! It has been scientifically proven (and I get this information from Medical News Today) that in moderate amounts (1-3 cups of coffee a day or 400mg) it can be healthy.
Caffeine may (but doesn’t always):
- Boost weight loss
- Improve mental alertness, speed reasoning, and memory
- Improve physical performance during endurance exercise
- Enhance some thinking skills and slow the mental decline that comes with age
- Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
- A dose of caffeine after a learning session may help boost long-term memory
But remember, with every benefit, there is also risk and we need to keep those risks in mind.
2. Caffeine Comes with Risks
Everything has a downside and that means caffeine too. Again, I’m not trying to get you to quit drinking tea or coffee, but you should know what can come along with it. This information comes from Medical News Today, Healthline, and the Mayo Clinic.
- It can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Increase in blood glucose levels (especially bad for those with diabetes)
- Is dangerous for pregnant woman (can lead to loss of pregnancy, delayed fetal growth, and abnormal fetal heart rhythm)
- When breastfeeding, drinking caffeine can lead to jittery babies who have a hard time sleeping
- Can lower your fertility rate when trying to get pregnant
- Increased risk of gout
- Can lead to incontinence, especially with the bladder
- Drinking caffeine 3-6 hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep, even cause insomnia
- Increased headaches
- May cause heartburn and upset stomach
So, just keep these things in mind when determining how much you should drink.
3. The More Caffeine, the More Problems
Keep in mind that if you do drink caffeine, you need to keep it to 400 mg a day or less. Here is a list from the Mayo Clinic that should help you determine your intake:
- An 8-ounce cup of coffee: 95-200 mg
- A 12-ounce can of cola: 35-45 mg
- An 8-ounce energy drink: 70-100 mg
- An 8-ounce cup of tea: 14-60 mg
So, basically 2 8oz cups of coffee or one 16oz cup of coffee a day. For tea, you can drink around six 8 oz. cups a day.
Why is it so important to limit your intake to only 400 mg a day or less? Well, take a look at what drinking more than 400 mg a day can do to you:
- jitters and shakes
- disrupted sleep
- fast or uneven heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- nervousness or anxiety
- stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea
- muscle tremors
That’s why it’s important to follow the regulations set by physicians. So, you don’t need to quit drinking coffee or tea, just make sure you stay within the limits!
4. Sometimes You Shouldn’t Drink Caffeine
There are some things you may already have that will only get worse if you drink anything with caffeine. Doctors recommend talking to your doctor about whether it is safe to drink any caffeine at all if you have one or more of the things on this list. Please, do talk to your doctor and go with their recommendation. They do know more than you (or me) and studies still haven’t shown long-term effects of continual caffeine use.
- Are pregnant, since caffeine passes through the placenta to your baby
- Are breastfeeding, since a small amount of caffeine that you consume is passed along to your baby
- Have sleep disorders, including insomnia
- Have migraines or other chronic headaches
- Have anxiety
- Have GERD or ulcers
- Have fast or irregular heart rhythms
- Have high blood pressure
- Take certain medicines or supplements, including stimulants, certain antibiotics, asthma medicines, and heart medicines. Check with your healthcare provider about whether there might be interactions between caffeine and any medicines and supplements that you take.
- Are a child or teen. Neither should have as much caffeine as adults. Children can be especially sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
I hope this post helps you guys make wise decisions about your health! I know I’m definitely keeping my caffeine intake to 400 mg a day or less. Not only so, but if I’m feeling anxiety that day, I’m staying away from caffeine entirely, as it only makes it worse.
God gave us these bodies we have and we need to be wise and take care of them.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)