Beneficial and Negative effects of Caffeine – an Open Speech
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. That’s why people drink it, right?
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 people who are driving long distances and for people who are doing tedious work. Calling this a health benefit may be stretching it, though staying awake while you are driving a car definitely contributes to your well-being!
Caffeine also contains antioxidants, which have been shown to have cancer prevention qualities.
The negative effects of caffeine are largely dependent on how much you consume.
When consumed in small quantities – for example, when you have one cup of coffee or one soda – caffeine can increase your heart rate, cause you to urinate more (which can cause dehydration), and prompt your digestive system to produce more acid.
In larger amounts, caffeine can cause you to have headaches, feel restless and nervous, be unable to sleep, and even – in very large quantities – to have hallucinations. (Don’t try that at home!)
When larger amounts of caffeine (over 600 mg per day) are ingested over long periods of time, they can cause sleep problems, depression, and digestion issues.
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 by the same token moderate consumption is not considered harmful.
They say that having up to 3 eight-ounce cups of coffee a day – or 250 mg of caffeine – is considered (quote) “average or moderate”. 10 cups of coffee a day is considered excessive. Also, remember that the amount of caffeine per cup can vary greatly depending on the type of beans that are used and the strength of the brew.
Most sodas with caffeine, unless they are specially enhanced, have about 35 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces. This means that you don’t have to worry TOO much unless you are drinking several 2-liter bottles per day. Also, the effect of caffeine on you personally will depend on a number of factors, such as your weight, general health, mood, and personal sensitivity to caffeine.
As you can see, caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on our health and well-being. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that if you drink your coffee or sodas in moderation, you don’t have to worry too much.
So, the next time you are wondering whether or not you should have that second cup of coffee to perk you up, relax. At least now you know what it will – and won’t – do for you!