Many of us rely on a cup of coffee in the morning or a caffeine jolt in the afternoon to help us get through the day. Caffeine is so widely available that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that about 80 percent of American adults drink some form of caffeine every day. But the effects of caffeine aren't limited to just keeping you awake. It is a central nervous system stimulant that affects your body in many ways.
Knowing the symptoms of caffeine and its long-term effects on your body can make you think twice about having that fourth cup of coffee. Read on to learn more about these effects.
Caffeine does not provide nutritional value on its own. It is flavorless, so you won't necessarily know if it's in your food either. Even some medications can contain caffeine without your knowledge.
This ingredient almost always causes some symptoms. At the very least, you may feel more energetic, but over time, too much caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Keep in mind that a standard size coffee mug is eight ounces. If you're using a cup or getting your fix at a coffee shop, you're probably drinking 16 ounces or more, so reading labels is important.
As you consume the same amount of caffeine each day, your body develops a tolerance for it. Other factors like your age, body mass, and general health can also determine your tolerance for caffeine. If you want to decrease the amount of caffeine you drink, it is best to slowly decrease your intake.
Central Nervous System
Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. When it hits your brain, the most noticeable effect is alertness. You'll feel more awake and less tired, which is why it's a common ingredient in medications to treat or control drowsiness, headaches, and migraines.
Studies have also found that people who drink coffee regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's and dementia, and reduced their risk of suicide by 45 percent. These benefits are limited to people who drink high-octane coffee, not decaf. Some people consider coffee to be a healthy drink, but like most foods, indulging yourself can cause side effects.