Starbucks. Dunkin’. Your office vending machine. Caffeine is everywhere, and it’s easy to grab and enjoy.
Ninety percent of Americans consume caffeine in some form — be it coffee, tea or soda — every day. It might give you that kick you need in the morning (or for that mid-afternoon slump), but is caffeine healthy?
Like most things in life, caffeine has both positive and negative effects.
Caffeine is addictive. Not shocking – if you’re a caffeine drinker, you know it’s easy to get dependent on it. And a caffeine withdrawal headache is no joke. Cutting back or quitting cold turkey can also lead to mental fuzziness and fatigue for a few days while your body adjusts.
Caffeine can increase anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns. This can create a vicious cycle, where caffeine contributes to insomnia and restless sleep, which leads to tiredness and more caffeine intake to get through the day.
Caffeine can interact with some medications, including thyroid and depression/psychiatric drugs. Talk to your doctor about any possible interactions when you start a new medication.
Don’t worry, it’s not all bad! Some studies have shown that those who drink non-decaf coffee could be four to eight times less likely to develop Parkinson’s, and it seems to be due to caffeine itself.
Another study found that three to five cups of coffee daily in your forties and fifties could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by up to 70%.
Coffee can even help you live longer! A large study by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute and AARP found that those who regularly drank coffee had a lower overall risk of death than nondrinkers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, around 400 mg of caffeine per day seems to be the safe maximum for healthy adults. That’s about four cups of brewed coffee or ten cans of soda. It’s important to know yourself and your body. Take note of how caffeine affects you and decide if you should cut back or let yourself enjoy your morning cup of happiness.
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-10-2013/coffee-for-health.html and https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678