Caffeine and a Healthy Lifestyle

In the new year many people are trying to break bad habits, including consuming too much caffeine. It is a natural substance from plants (including coffee beans), which is very popular all over the world. foods and beverages like energy drinks have manufactured caffeine added.

How and who consumes caffeine can determine the health benefits. Understanding how caffeine effects the body can help you fit your favorite beverages into a healthy lifestyle.

How Caffeine Affects the Body

Caffeine is a stimulant that when consumed it increases alertness, combat fatigue and improve mental performance. There is a brief period of increased blood pressure and heart rate with use.

As it works through your digestive system and is absorbed into the bloodstream, acid increases in the stomach. It is also common to experience an increase in urination as it exits the body after consumption.

Caffeine travels through the bloodstream and in pregnant women it also crosses into the placenta and has the same stimulant effects on the fetus.

The most significant effect that caffeine has on the body is on the brain. The stimulant activates the brain and increases energy. It often improves mood and productivity. This is believed to be caused from caffeine blocking the receptors for a hormone in the brain that regulates your sleep.

The Good and the Bad

Consuming caffeine has numerous effects on your body, which can be positive or negative for your health.

When it comes to health benefits, it increases alertness, relieves symptoms of a hangover, improves mood, and temporarily reduces fatigue. In addition, one study showed that it can reduce the risk of suicide by 45%.

Excessive amounts however, can have negative effects such as increased heart rate, diarrhea, acid reflux, increased blood pressure, and dehydration caused from an increase in urination.

If you consume large amounts of caffeine and your body becomes dependent on it, you may see withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms included nausea, headache, irritability, and muscle aches.

Individuals with heart conditions, fertility issues, and those who are pregnant should limit the amount of caffeine consumed daily. This prevents negative effects their cardiovascular or the reproductive system.

How To Fit Caffeine Into a Healthy Lifestyle

Many people enjoy caffeine and are able to not have it negatively affect their health. The FDA cites that most individuals without underlying health issues can safely consume up to 400mg a day. This adds up to about 4-5 cups of coffee.

In these cases it is possible to fit caffeine into your daily health routine, by helping you become more alert in the morning, during the post-lunch slump, or shortly before a work out.

Caffeine affects everyone differently, so you may not be able to tolerate that amount and it's important to note how your body reacts. It is beneficial to be cautious when consuming beverages such as energy drinks with very high amount of caffeine.