For many people, the best way to start a day is with a mug of tea/coffee. Reportedly, Coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd. He noticed that it gave extra energy to his goats. The late 1800s was the time when caffeinated soft drinks hit the market, which was soon followed by energy drinks. Nowadays, by 80% of the world’s population drinks a caffeinated product each day. Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly present in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. The natural sources of this stimulant are seeds, nuts, as well as leaves of certain plants.
Caffeinated foods are produced by harvesting & processing these natural resources. The caffeine follows the path from the gut (where it is quickly absorbed) into the bloodstream, then to the liver, where it finally breaks down into compounds, affecting the function of different organs.
The major effect of this stimulant is on the brain. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system. It works by blocking the effects of a neurotransmitter called adenosine (which is responsible for relaxing the brain and making you feel tired). Also, it may escalate blood adrenaline levels & brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. This further stimulates the brain and promotes a state of arousal, attentiveness, focus & prevents the onset of tiredness. It also goes by the name psychoactive drug as it affects your brain.
Why use caffeine?
Caffeine is infamous for its negative effects on sleep and anxiety. However, there are pieces of evidence that show that it has various positive effects on health. Some of them are –
- It may have a positive impact on mood. Studies reported that drinking about 200–300 mg caffeine per day can lower the risk of suicide up to 45% & lower the risk of depression by 13%.
- It helps to improve brain function such as improved alertness, short-term recall, and reaction time.
- Its consumption can reduce the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s up to 28–60% with .
- Because of its ability to stimulate the central nervous system, it may help in burning fat & boost metabolism.
- May also aid to enhance exercise performance by increasing the use of fat as fuel & delaying the time it takes your muscles to reach exhaustion.
- May protect against heart disease and diabetes
- It May help in the protection of the liver by reducing the risk of liver damage (cirrhosis)
- Decreases the risk of cancer, more specifically skin cancer.
- Helps in Gout (complex form of arthritis) prevention.
- Promotes Gut health by increasing the amount as well as activity of beneficial gut bacteria
- It’s also a common ingredient in weight loss supplements.
How to use caffeine?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), a dosage of 400 mg (2–4 cups of coffee) of caffeine daily is safe to consume. Reportedly, there have been fatal overdoses with single doses of 500 mg of caffeine. Therefore, you should limit the amount you consume at one time to 200 mg per dose.
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