A cup of coffee. The morning fix. Your pick-me-up mid-afternoon.
Whatever you call it, many of us feel like we need that caffeine fix to kick start our day and get through that afternoon slump.
A cup or two a day can’t be that bad for you, can it? It depends.
However, she explains, other studies of caffeine consumption have linked it to risk for the health when consumed in excess.
We dug into the research and asked our expert to see if caffeine can be bad for you.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound, a stimulant that impacts the brain and central nervous system.
It peaks in the bloodstream in 30-60 minutes, then hits the rest of your body as your blood continues to pump.
And yes, you can develop a tolerance to your daily caffeine intake. Asplin warns, however, that even if you don’t feel the energizing effects, it still affects your organs and neuroendocrine system at the cellular level.
What are the benefits of caffeine?
Having a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning can be a calming ritual, but caffeine has documented benefits as well.
1. It helps lift your spirits
According to a 2016 study in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Journals.
However, caffeine did not show positive impacts on memory or higher-order executive functions, such as judgment and decision-making.
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2. It helps improve physical performance
A study in 2013 found that caffeine had a positive effect on physical performance when it came to endurance-based exercise, such as cycling.
In the study, a group of cyclists completed a target time trial after drinking a drink consisting of caffeine, coffee, decaffeinated coffee or a placebo one hour before.
The results showed that cyclists who drank caffeine and coffee were significantly faster than those who drank decaffeinated or a placebo.
One of the most studied performance aids in sports nutrition, caffeine is a key ingredient in Beachbody Performance Energizewhich can help improve energy and stamina, improve focus, and delay fatigue.*
3. It May Have Health Benefits
The caffeine in green tea and coffee can be good for you.
According to a study in Stroke, review from the American Heart Association, the results found that drinking either of these morning beverages had beneficial health effects.
Are there any negative side effects of caffeine?
With almost anything you consume, moderation is key. When you overindulge in caffeine, it can kick your adrenal glands into overdrive.
“In the body, caffeine acts as a stimulant or stressor,” says Asplin. “It signals the adrenal glands to dump adrenaline and cortisolwhich makes the consumer feel more alert and responsive.
Caffeine tells your adrenal glands to release more and more of their stores of cortisol and adrenaline – it’s basically borrowing from tomorrow for today.
When the adrenal glands become chronically dysfunctional, it doesn’t take long before you also notice energy imbalances, sleep issues, and other health effects, says Asplin.
So how much can I safely consume?
Asplin says up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, or about 4 cups of coffee, can be safely consumed by a healthy adult who does not suffer from chronic stress, cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
She generally recommends less, though. “I recommend that my patients consume no more than 100 to 200 milligrams per day,” says Asplin, “and that they take periodic vacations from caffeine consumption to refresh their adrenal glands.”
Even though caffeine has negative side effects, you don’t have to give up your daily habit just yet.
Aim for less than 400 milligrams of all caffeine sources you consume.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.