Caffeine is everywhere in our society these days and especially here on a college campus every few months we hear about how a study has shown that it is bad for us or good for us. What are we to believe?
Today I'd like to give you some of the facts about caffeine and its effects on your body. It may not cause you to change your coffee consumption but at least you'll be better informed about what you are putting into your body.
I'm going to talk about the beneficial effects of caffeine, the negative effects and discuss what are considered safe levels of caffeine consumption.
Let's start with the good news. Caffeine, which comes from the leaves, seeds and fruits of about 63 different plants, is well known as a stimulant.
Caffeine does help you wake up and feel more alert and it has been shown to increase attention spans. This is a beneficial effect for us college students cramming for tests, people who are driving long distances, and for people who are doing tedious work. Calling this a health benefit may be stretching it, but without a doubt the fact that Caffeine also contains antioxidants which have been shown to have cancer prevention qualities is a health benefit.
The negative effects of caffeine are largely dependent on how much you consume.
When consumed in small quantities like, for example when you have one cup of coffee or one soda, caffeine can cause your heart rate to increase, you urinate more which can cause dehydration, and your digestive system produces more acid. According to a study at the university of Kentucky, more than 78% of students said they consumed above the recommended 200 mg of caffeine per day.
In larger amounts (more than 200mg a day) caffeine can cause you to have headaches, feel restless and nervous, and be unable to sleep,. When these large amounts are consumed and are used over long periods of time you can develop sleep problems, get depressed and have problems with your digestive system.
According to a Medline article on the National Institutes of Health website, having caffeine in your diet is not of any benefit to your health but moderate