Caffeine…good or bad?

I love my coffee. I remember as a child my mother would give us a cup of coffee every night before bedtime. It was very weak and made with lots of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I loved it and looked forward to it. As I grew up I used less milk and made the coffee stronger. Now since I’ve been with Gregg, he has gotten me to skip the milk and drink it back with 1 teaspoon of sugar. I really enjoy having that first cup of java in the morning. Waking up to the smell of fresh coffee brewing is the best.

Over the years we have heard that caffeine is bad for us and yes I agree that in some ways it is.( I can tell you right now that I will never give up my morning coffee). Here are some facts…
There have been many studies done over the last 100 years. It’s generally believed that moderate consumption (no more than 4 or 5 average-strength cups of coffee a day) won’t harm most people, and may even have some benefits, but people vary in their sensitivity to caffeine. Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed behaviour-modifying chemical. It’s also one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients. It’s present in coffee, tea and chocolate as a natural ingredient – and it’s added to cola and energy drinks because of its stimulant effect. You’ll also find caffeine in over-the-counter medications, including some painkillers and cold and flu remedies. And in painkillers it’s used to enhance the action of the active ingredient.

Over 60 plants contain caffeine in their leaves, seeds and fruits – including the coffee and tea plant species. It’s actually a poison created by plants to protect themselves from being eaten. Most animals can’t stand the bitter taste.

Caffeine in the body

Caffeine is absorbed by the stomach, metabolized by the liver and eliminated from the body within two to 10 hours. Generally speaking, smokers metabolize caffeine more quickly than non-smokers, and pregnant women take longer to metabolize it. Oral contraceptives also slow the rate of caffeine metabolism.

It acts on the central nervous system as a mild stimulant, it relieves drowsiness and fatigue and speeds up reaction times. It’s also often been claimed to improve mood and mental performance though recent studies suggest that these apparent benefits may be the result of relieving the symptoms of overnight caffeine withdrawal!

Caffeine also acts as a mild diuretic, working on the kidneys to decrease the re-absorption of water and salt. While it can make you urinate more frequently, there’s debate about whether or not caffeine has a dehydrating effect.

Are there any health benefits?
  • It’s been argued that because caffeine is an antioxidant, it may help prevent the development of some types of cancer. Antioxidants are found in many products derived from plants, and it’s widely believed that they help protect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer and cataracts.
  • It’s been found that coffee contains flavanoids, which have antioxidant properties. And recent research suggests that the roasting process generates other antioxidant substances.
  • Its role as a stimulant has also been shown to have benefits in specific situations. The amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee has been shown to improve alertness and concentration, and studies have argued it helps some night-shift workers to maintain concentration, potentially reducing the chances of an industrial accident. It may also play a role in reducing driver fatigue and preventing road accidents. And there’s good evidence that caffeine enhances sports performance for elite athletes – but not for the average athlete.

There are some more facts if you would like to continue reading about caffeine effects and studies. Just click on the link. (clicky). I know I will keep on having my caffeine be it in coffee or sodas or in my tasty dark chocolate. My mom wasn’t concerned about giving it to us as kids so therefore it must be good! Since mom is always right, and who wants to argue with mom?

Leave a Reply