What is Caffeine?
Are you someone who loves coffee or tea? Well if you do, then this article is for you. Caffeine is a natural chemical that has the effects of a stimulant. It is most commonly found in coffee, tea, and cacao plants. It has a rich history, and its earliest usage can be tracked all the way back to 2737 B.C where the first tea was brewed. Years later, it was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd who observed high energy levels in his goats after their intake of tea leaves.
Caffeine is popular, and widely available. Presently, eighty percent of the world’s population consumes it in one form or the other. Dependency on caffeine is very real, and can cause a number of problems. If you are used to consuming it every other hour, visit a General Physician in Lahore for advice. They can help you tame your caffeine intake without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
How Does Caffeine Work?
Caffeine, also referred to as a psychoactive drug, works by stimulating the brain and the central nervous system. Upon consumption, caffeine is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. It then makes its way to the liver, which breaks it down into compounds. These compounds cause various effects on different organs. Since caffeine’s main target is the brain, it operates by blocking the effect of adenosine, a neurotransmitter whose central job is to relax the brain and make you feel tired. Once the caffeine is able to effectively put a stop to the impact of adenosine, you begin feeling alert.
Caffeine can also increase blood adrenaline levels and brain activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which are neurotransmitters. This causes further stimulation of the brain, and increases both concentration and arousal.
Which Foods and Drinks Contain Caffeine?
Naturally, caffeine is found in tea, cocoa, coffee, guarana, yerba mate, cola, and over sixty other products. On the other hand, its synthetic supplemental forms are also produced and added to foods. Those energy drinks you love drinking, and the morning coffee you cannot start your day without, all of them contain caffeine. In fact, caffeine is the reason you love them so much.
Some common foods and drinks with high levels of caffeine are:
- Cocoa beans
- Dark chocolate
- Foods containing chocolate
- Energy drinks
- Green and black tea
For tea and coffee, the amount of caffeine varies based on how strong or light you prefer them to be. The maximum intake limit for caffeine is 400mg for adults. This loosely translates to about four cups of coffee/tea per day. For children, the advised caffeine intake is around 85 mg in a day.
What are the Positive Impacts of Caffeine?
Caffeine is the most used drug in the world, majorly for good reasons. It has numerous benefits some of which are:
- Helps lose weight: When caffeine goes into your body it temporarily suppresses appetite and stimulates thermogenesis, leading the body to generate heat and energy from digesting food.
- Improves attention span and alertness: Caffeine intake helps improve focus and alertness.
- Enhances cognitive function: It enhances cognitive functionality of a person by speeding their ability to reason.
- Boosts memory: A dose of caffeine after a study session can help remember things better.
- Improves physical performance: Caffeine intake helps people perform better physically, it does so by increasing blood adrenaline levels.
- Reduces your risk of getting deadly diseases: Research shows people who consume caffeine are at a lower risk of getting strokes, heart failure or developing Parkinson’s disease
What are the Negative Impacts of Caffeine?
When consumed in high amounts, caffeine can be extremely dangerous for the human body. Here are some of its negative impacts:
- Sleep deprivation: Caffeine helps you stay awake, and if the intake isn’t monitored, it can lead to sleep deprivation, causing problems like insomnia.
- Depression: A high intake of caffeine can worsen anxiety and depression.
- Rise in blood glucose level: High intakes of caffeine on a regular basis can meddle with the body’s blood glucose levels.
- Fertility: Caffeine can lower muscle activity in the fallopian tubes, thus reducing the chances of conceiving.
- Harmful for the fetus: High intake of caffeine while being pregnant can harm the fetus, and even lead to miscarriage.
Other harmful effects of high consumption of caffeine include high blood pressure, dizziness, dehydration, headaches, nervousness and anxiety. If you encounter any of the above mentioned problems, start keeping your caffeine intake in check and visit General Physician in Saifee Hospital.