Top 10 Perks and Problems With Caffeine

It’s a new morning and if you are anything like me, you look forward to that first cup of joe to kickstart the day!
I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee. It’s a personal little love connection I have with my childhood, that of waking up to the smell of fresh Maxwell House percolated coffee in the 4 cup stainless steel pot my mother used to put on each morning. We also had a 6-8 cup duplicate pot reserved for the evening coffee clotches that occurred frequently in the evenings with the neighborhood friends.

I grew up smelling coffee and when I was old enough I began drinking it. My go to was coffee with milk and at least one teaspoon of sugar but as I got older I began to appreciate the taste of coffee without the sweetness added. I was never one to drink more then 2 cups maximum a day, not like those folks that could down a whole pot before the morning was even over. I have tried to give up coffee in the past because of all the stories out there warning us about the negative effects coffee has on our bodies. I have even opted switching to decaf (uh, no thanks) or herbal teas without caffeine (which I still enjoy) but in the end I always missed the coffee and came back. It was hard to stay away from the aroma and taste that I truly enjoyed in moderation.

As you may know, not all who enjoy caffeine are coffee drinkers. There are those that think coffee has a God awful smell and an even worse taste and prefer their caffeine fix to be in the form of soda or maybe even chocolate. However, the opening up of a soda bottle or flip top on the can in the morning is not something I can relate to or even conceive, but I do totally get the attraction.

Coffee and caffeine in general has truly gotten a bad rap over the years so with all this being said, I thought I would share some facts indicating both the pros and cons of caffeine. You can now be at rest knowing that caffeine in moderation also has some perks we can use in our favor!

Let’s take a look at the negatives first so we can end on a good note!

1. Cardiovascular Issues

Approximately 4 cups of coffee or a caffeinated beverage can raise blood pressure for many hours. These levels are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease

2. Stress
Consuming caffeine in the early morning affects the body throughout the day by amplifying stress levels. Caffeine increases and elevates the stress hormones. Decrease the caffeine, lower the stress reaction.

3. Emotional Imbalance
With an increased amount of caffeine comes overstimulation of the heart and dilation of blood vessels. This causes blood pressure to increase, causing bronchial relaxation in the lungs and increased breathing. These reactions can cause irritability, restlessness, insomnia and agitation.

4. Blood Sugar Swings
Type 2 diabetics should be aware that caffeine may potentially impair insulin’s action, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. It may only take 2-3 cups for this to occur.

5. Gastrointestinal Issues
Caffeine is a stimulant so it can cause increased contraction of the stomach muscles which may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increased bowel movements. Those that have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s Disease or colitis should be a little leary before grabbing caffeinated beverages.

6. Nutritional Deficiencies
Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and trace minerals.

7. For the Guys….
Research shows that men can significantly reduce their risk for urinary and prostate problems by making some changes to their diets, which includes eliminating caffeine.

8. For the Gals…..
Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility problems, miscarriage, low birth weight, and menopausal issues (phew!) are all raised by caffeine consumption.

9. Aging
Caffeine can help speed up the process in the decline in the production of DHEA, melatonin and other vital hormones. Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to aging skin and kidneys.

10. Adrenal Fatigue
Caffeine is a stimulant that binds to adenosine receptors in the brain. This can cause a range of complex reactions which in turn can cause an increase in stimulation of the adrenal glands. With this, vulnerability to a variety of health concerns is increased to include inflammation and fatigue.

 

 

OK, are you ready for some positive information?

1. Alertness
Even in relatively low amounts caffeine has been shown to stimulate alertness and improve mental performance.

2. Mood
At low amounts, some report an improved sense of well being, happiness, energy
and sociability.

3. Concentration
Studies suggest that caffeine can help you perform a variety of cognitive tasks
more quickly.

4. Performance
Some sources note that caffeine allows for longer periods of exercise without
exhaustion. Although the mechanism is not yet known, caffeine affects the utilization of glycogen (the main fuel for muscles) during workouts. Once this is depleted, exhaustion occurs. Caffeine decreases the use of glycogen during workouts up to 50%

5. Reduced Muscle Pain
Some researchers have found that caffeine may potentially stimulate the release of B-endorphins and hormones that suppress the sensation of pain discomfort.

6. Faster Effects of Medication
If you are taking medication caffeine can constrict blood vessels and help the body absorb medications more quickly. This is why caffeine is added to some pain medications.

7. Diabetes Prevention
Coffee contains minerals and antioxidants which helps prevent diabetes. Frank Hu, M.D, one of the authors of The Harvard Study, theorizes it may be because caffeine stimulates muscles to burn fat and sugar more efficiently.

8. Antioxidants
Antioxidants in caffeine help stabilize free radicals and stop them from doing damage.

9. Disease Prevention
Caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active.preventing diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Harvard researchers have found that men who drink 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day are half likely to develop these diseases…..WOW! I still follow the rule of moderation but this is very interesting news indeed!

10. Asthma Relief
Drinking a moderate amount of caffeine can be therapeutic for people with asthma. Caffeine in the form of coffee may be used to prevent an asthma attack in emergency cases, but it is not intended to replace medication.

 

I personally enjoy organic coffee houses/cafes when I am out and about if I can locate one but I also prefer to purchase and consume organic, compostable coffee for my Keurig at home. 🙂

So there you have it! Now feel free to head over to your favorite coffee shop/cafe and enjoy a cup of coffee with a smile. 🙂

I would be more then happy to support you so please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Diane Leddy
BEssentially Green at
bessentaillygreen.com

 

Source: IIN ( Institute for Integrative Nutrition)

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