In the 9th century, Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after chewing the leaves of a coffee plant. Thanks to this excitement, today coffee is the second-most traded commodity on earth. All of us are well aware of the fact that the excitement experienced by people after drinking coffee is due to caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system, muscles, and heart.
Did you know? Caffeine is most commonly consumed psychoactive susbstance in the world. A normal cup of coffee has around 90-100 mg caffeine content.
Dwelling into the details, caffeine works by blocking the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain called adenosine which in turn increases activity in the brain and release other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters reduce tiredness and make a person feel more alert.
According to studies, caffeine increases exercise performance by approximately 12% and boosts metabolism by 3-11%. In addition to that, caffeine boosts brain function, mood, reaction time and other general cognitive function.
However, just like everything has its set of pros of cons, coffee comes with its own set of cons, too. Listed below are the ways in which caffeine affects the body negatively:
Raises blood pressure: Coffee is known to raise blood pressure, especially in those who do not consume coffee regularly. In a study conducted by Mayo Clinic, non-coffee drinkers who consumed coffee witnessed a rise in their blood pressure. In another study, a similar pattern was seen in people who were already patients of hypertension/high blood pressure.
Can cause insomnia: A cup of coffee early in the morning is beneficial but when coffee is consumed during the latter part of the day, it tends to interfere with a person’s sleeping patterns. If consumed during the later hours of the day, caffeine remains in a person’s system and in some cases, it can also mimic the symptoms of insomnia.
Can lead to addiction: Just like any other psychoactive substance, regular coffee drinkers tend to grow a tolerance towards caffeine. Due to this tolerance, caffeine stops working on the body. Therefore, people tend to consume more coffee throughout the day which, in turn, leads to addiction. This addiction comes with its set of withdrawal symptoms like cravings, tiredness, headaches, irritability, etc.
Can worsen existing health problems: Caffeine directly affects the neurotransmitters and muscles in the body and that can have a negative impact on people with existing health conditions. According to a study conducted by Dr. Lucio Mos, people who were diagnosed with mild hypertension were 4 times more likely to have a heart attack after consuming approximately 4 cups of coffee. Caffeine can also have a negative impact on other health conditions like diabetes, anxiety, heart disease, menopause, etc.
The bottom line is that coffee is good for health but only if consumed in moderation. It is also advisable to cut down caffeine intake during the later hours of the day.
Are you consuming too much caffeine? Talk to a Specialist Doctor in order to get a better understanding of the symptoms and consequences of caffeine addiction.
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