By: Grace Zhang
Coffee has become a staple in our society today, some stating that it’s their ride or die and that they can’t function without it. The average person’s morning routine probably has them making a cup of coffee first thing after they wake up. However, for such a highly consumed drink, many myths and uncertainties are surrounding its effects on the body, or more specifically the effects of its most vital ingredient: caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in a wide variety of common drinks; tea, coffee, energy drinks, etc. It stimulates certain areas of the brain and central nervous system as well as raising your heart rate and pressure, increasing energy levels. This allows the consumer to feel less tired and power through their busy schedules.
Many students rely on caffeine for all-nighters and cramming in studying before an exam, but is the consumption of caffeine all beneficial? The recommended amount of caffeine to consume per day is 400 mg, with more potentially leading to increased headaches and high blood pressure. Pregnant women should be even more careful, too much caffeine can lead to higher chances of miscarriage or low birth weight.
Consistently having caffeine every day can also lead to caffeine addiction. Similar to any addiction, your body becomes dependent on caffeine and when you stop in taking it, you descend into withdrawal. As caffeine is a stimulant, over consumption will lead to your body depending on the stimulation it provides. Examples of symptoms that those addicted to caffeine will feel are restlessness, muscle twitching, difficulty sleeping and much more. Withdrawal from caffeine will entail intense headaches, extreme fatigue, irritability, etc.
On the other hand, caffeine is not all bad as it does have its benefits. Some studies have shown that it can increase your metabolism and fat burning abilities in small amounts over some time. It may also increase the usage of fat as the power source during exercise.
Caffeine consumed in safe amounts can provide benefits, while too much will result in negative effects. I drink coffee quite regularly and could not imagine never drinking it again, and a lot of people feel the same. The fact that caffeine has negative effects should not deter you from drinking it, but remind you to be conscious of what you're putting in your body. Like everything else, caffeine should be taken with moderation.