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Benefits and Side Effects of Caffeine

Benefits and Side Effects of Caffeine

Every day, billions of people rely on caffeine to wake up, or to get through that night shift or afternoon slump.

In fact, this natural stimulant is one of the most widely used ingredients in the world and check out our article on caffeine, how it works, and the foods and drinks that contain it.

Caffeine is often talked about for its negative effects on sleep and anxiety.

However, studies also show that it has various health benefits.

Caffeine benefits

1- May improve mood and brain function

Caffeine may improve mood (s), reduce the likelihood of depression (s), stimulate brain function (s), and protect against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (s).

A study found that a second cup of coffee produced no further benefits unless it was taken at least 8 hours after the first cup (s).

2- May Boost Metabolism & Fat Burning

Caffeine may increase metabolism and promote fat loss (s), but these effects are likely to remain small in the long term.

See16 Health Benefits of Coffee Based on Evidence and Sources

3- May enhance exercise performance

Consuming small amounts of caffeine about an hour before a workout is likely to improve exercise performance (s).

This is beneficial because it can help glucose stored in the muscles last longer, which may delay the time it takes for your muscles to reach exhaustion (s, s).

4- May protect against heart disease and diabetes

Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may reduce the risk of heart disease (s) and type 2 diabetes (s), although this may depend on the individual.

Other health benefits of coffee

Coffee consumption is associated with many other health benefits:

  • To protect the liver. Coffee may reduce the risk of liver damage (cirrhosis) by up to 84%. It may slow disease progression, improve treatment response, and reduce the risk of premature death (s, s).
  • For longevity. Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of premature death by up to 30%, especially for women and people with diabetes (s, s).
  • To reduce the risk of cancer. Drinking 2-4 cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of liver cancer by up to 64% and the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 38% (s, s, s, s).
  • To protect the skin. Consuming 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day may reduce the risk of skin cancer by 20% (s, s).
  • To reduce the risk of MS. Coffee drinkers may reduce their risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) by up to 30%. However, not all studies agree (s, s).
  • To prevent gout. Regularly drinking 4 cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of gout by 40% in men and 57% in women (s, s).
  • For gut health. Drinking 3 cups of coffee per day for at least 3 weeks may increase the amount and activity of beneficial gut bacteria (s).

Keep in mind that coffee also contains other health-improving substances. Some of the benefits listed above may be caused by substances other than caffeine.

See20+ Healthy Cooking Oils, Health Benefits and How to Use Them

Safety and side effects

Caffeine can have negative side effects in some people, including anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty sleeping:

1. Some of the side effects associated with excessive consumption include anxiety, insomnia, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping (s).

2. Excessive caffeine intake may also lead to headaches, migraines and high blood pressure in some individuals (s).

3. Caffeine can easily cross the placenta, which may increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight. Pregnant women should limit their intake (s, s, s).

4. Caffeine can also interact with some medications. Individuals taking the muscle relaxant Zanaflex or the antidepressant Luvox should avoid caffeine because these drugs can increase its effect (s).

Recommended doses of caffeine

Both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider 400 mg of caffeine per day to be safe. This equates to 2-4 cups of coffee per day (s).

However, it should be noted that fatal overdoses have been reported with single doses of 500 mg of caffeine.

Therefore, it is recommended to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume at one time to 200 mg per serving (s, s).

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should limit their daily intake to 200 mg (s).

Caffeine is not as unhealthy as once thought. In fact, the evidence suggests that it may be quite the opposite.

Therefore, it is safe to consider your daily cup of coffee or tea as a fun way to promote good health.

See14 Foods That Contain Animal Protein

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