Health & Wellness

Caffeine and Your Health

Courtney Rupertus
Caffeine and Your Health

Of all the habit-forming substances out there, caffeine has got to be the one that’s lurking around in some form in nearly every household.

It’s deliciously addictive and found in coffee, pop, energy drinks, tea, chocolate, and even many prescription and over-the-counter medications.

There are virtually no restrictions on who has access to caffeinated products, which makes it really easy to get your hands on too much of a good thing if you’re not paying attention to how much you’re ingesting.

In moderate amounts caffeine has been shown to have significant health benefits, including the following:

  •  Helps burn fat and encourages weight loss
  • Brightens your mood, prevents depression, and lowers risk of suicide
  • Protects your brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reduces your risk of stroke, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease, as well as Type 2 Diabetes
  • Helps you stay alert and focused
  • Enhances physical performance

 According to most studies, 400 mg of caffeine each day is the maximum amount, which is about three to four cups of coffee, depending on the size of your mug and how strong you like your coffee. For other caffeinated beverages, you’ll have to keep an eye on the label. A 355ml can of Pepsi, for example, contains about 38 mg of caffeine.

How do you know if you’ve had too much caffeine? Experts say that anything more than 600 mg a day is too much but it all depends on your age, body mass, and your overall health. 

 

Signs you’ve had too much caffeine:

  • You’ve got a headache.
  • You’ve got stomach cramping or diarrhea.
  • You’ve got the jitters and your heart is racing.
  • You can’t sleep.
  • You can’t sit still.

 Consuming too much caffeine over a long period of time can have other detrimental effects on your health, such as worsened anxiety or insomnia, indigestion, heartburn, sleep deprivation, and chronic dehydration.

If you feel you’ve been consuming too much caffeine on a regular basis, it is best to start cutting back slowly - one cup at a time. Like with all stimulants, going cold turkey is extremely uncomfortable and may result in headaches, irritability, drowsiness, nausea, and sometimes even tremors or shaking.

There’s no reason to eliminate your daily coffee completely, but there are benefits to becoming more mindful of the caffeine you consume.