Caffeine’s most popular benefit is increased energy levels. It also enhances focus by improving the communication between different parts of the brain. You’ll feel happier and less stressed, thanks to caffeine’s ability to boost dopamine and serotonin, two “feel good” neurotransmitters. The analgesic effects of this drug can also treat pain, especially in the form of headaches. Additionally, caffeine stimulates thermogenesis and reduces appetite, resulting in weight loss.
If you’re not a morning person, caffeine is probably your best friend. It can make you feel like a normal human being! You’re not alone, either. About 85 percent of the American population consumes at least one caffeinated drink daily. Most of this is in the form of coffee.1
On a greater scale, caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. And while it can perk you up, it has many other surprising health benefits. Here are five ways caffeine can help you out.
5 Health Benefits Of Caffeine
1. Energy Boost
This might be the most obvious advantage of caffeine. It’s exactly why coffee is a morning staple! Caffeine is perfect for a pick-me-up, especially if you didn’t get enough shut-eye. It may even motivate you to exercise.2
Of course, sleep is the healthiest way to refuel. No amount of caffeine can replace a good night’s rest. However, in small doses, caffeine can help kick start your day. Just be sure to take it before 3 p.m., so it’ll wear off by the time bedtime rolls around.
2. Increased Focus
The energy benefits of caffeine consumption also enhance concentration. In young people, caffeine improves the brain’s functional connectivity. It’s also easier to figure out tasks, like writing papers or doing chores.
These caffeine benefits also help the elderly. A low dose has been shown to boost the communication between different parts of the brain.3 The result is a better attention span and memory. This may be especially useful for post-menopausal women, who often report difficult concentration.
3. Better Mood
Aside from clearer thinking, caffeine will also make you happier. Low doses are linked to reduced levels of anxiety, stress, and nervousness.4 It’s all thanks to caffeine’s positive influence on dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters associated with good mood.5
These effects are more prominent in older and fatigued people, but others can still take advantage of these caffeine benefits. For the greatest effect, caffeine should be consumed in the morning.6
4. Headache Relief
When you don’t get enough sleep, headaches are likely. They can also happen from stress or tension. So why not sip some coffee or tea? The caffeine in these drinks will increase your level of adenosine receptors, which play a role in pain relief.7 Taking caffeine with ibuprofen will also exhibit stronger effects.8
However, keep in mind that caffeine can be useful for minor headaches. Extreme cases warrant immediate medical attention.
5. Weight Loss
Weight management takes time and patience. But caffeine can actually speed things up! It has the ability to increase thermogenesis, the amount of heat your body makes. This process burns calories even when you’re at rest. At the same time, caffeine has been shown to suppress appetite, therefore lowering energy intake. Between the boost in thermogenesis and the decrease in appetite, you’ve got the perfect recipe for weight loss.
Caffeine benefits also include fat breakdown. This is known as lipid oxidation, and it has the greatest impact on obese individuals.9
Caffeine benefits are sensitive to dosage. They are linked to low doses, which is about 100 to 200 mg per day. To put it into perspective, one 8-ounce cup of coffee has 100 mg. Two 8-ounce cups of tea have 120 mg.
Excessive intake is another story. It can have unpleasant side effects like tremors, anxiety, depression, dehydration, and trouble sleeping. Over time, it can stop calcium absorption and contribute to osteoporosis.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid consuming too much caffeine. An intake of 300 mg or more per day might contribute to miscarriage.
If you’re already dealing with intense stress or sleeping problems, skip the caffeine. It might just make your conditions worse. The same goes for acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and high blood pressure.10
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Mitchell, Diane C., Carol A. Knight, Jon Hockenberry, Robyn Teplansky, and Terryl J. Hartman. “Beverage caffeine intakes in the US.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 63 (2014): 136-142.|
|2.||↑||Randolph, Derek D., and Patrick J. O’Connor. “Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women.” Physiology & Behavior (2017).|
|3.||↑||Haller, Sven, Cristelle Rodriguez, Dominik Moser, Simona Toma, Jeremy Hofmeister, Indrit Sinanaj, Dimitri Van De Ville, Panteleimon Giannakopoulos, and K-O. Lovblad. “Acute caffeine administration impact on working memory-related brain activation and functional connectivity in the elderly: a BOLD and perfusion MRI study.” Neuroscience 250 (2013): 364-371.|
|4, 6.||↑||Cao, Chuanhai, David A. Loewenstein, Xiaoyang Lin, Chi Zhang, Li Wang, Ranjan Duara, Yougui Wu et al. “High blood caffeine levels in MCI linked to lack of progression to dementia.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 30, no. 3 (2012): 559-572.|
|5.||↑||Ruxton, C. H. S. “The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks.” Nutrition Bulletin 33, no. 1 (2008): 15-25.|
|7.||↑||Baratloo, Alireza, Alaleh Rouhipour, Mohammad Mehdi Forouzanfar, Saeed Safari, Marzieh Amiri, and Ahmed Negida. “The role of caffeine in pain management: A brief literature review.” Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine 6, no. 3 (2016).|
|8.||↑||Diamond, Seymour, Timothy K. Balm, and Frederick G. Freitag. “Ibuprofen plus caffeine in the treatment of tension‐type headache.” Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 68, no. 3 (2000): 312-319.|
|9.||↑||Harpaz, Eynav, Snait Tamir, Ayelet Weinstein, and Yitzhak Weinstein. “The effect of caffeine on energy balance.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology 28, no. 1 (2017): 1-10.|
|10.||↑||Caffeine in the diet. MedlinePlus.|