Many of us consume caffeine daily, sometimes even without our knowledge. While coffee is the main source – it is the second most consumed beverage on the planet – other beverages and foods are also full of them.
Caffeine is found in tea, soft drinks and energy drinks, chocolate, and even in decaf! Here are five things you may not know about this psychostimulant molecule.
Caffeine works quickly
It is not for nothing that the coffee ritual is firmly rooted in our morning routine. It only takes a few minutes for caffeine to reach our brain and stimulate our nervous system.
After 10 minutes, our alertness increases, and our cognitive functions, such as memory and concentration, improve. In less than an hour, the presence of caffeine in our blood is at its highest; before being partially eliminated in about 4 hours, the rest can remain in the body for up to 15 hours more.
And if you’re wondering why it’s not recommended at the end of the day, it’s simply because caffeine blocks fatigue signals and prevents sleep.
We are not all equal in the face of its effects.
Examples of these factors can affect how our metabolism assimilates this stimulant: sex, ethnicity, tobacco and alcohol use, or contraceptive pill use.
Also, smokers and women will feel the effects of caffeine for less time. Conversely, those who take contraceptives, men, non-smokers, and Asians, will keep the molecule in their bodies longer. Alcohol also acts as a speed bump.
Finally, people who are used to using it become less sensitive to its effects and often perceive smaller reactions than others.
Caffeine is good for your health.
In addition to affecting cognitive function, studies have shown that caffeine is also beneficial to health. The risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s would be reduced since caffeine is active, among other things, dopamine.
Caffeine also has some virtues, including:
- kidneys, thanks to its diuretic action that allows the elimination of water;
- intestinal transit, increasing secretions that help digestion;
- the cardiovascular system that would be protected, among other things, by bioactive substances from the plants that make up caffeine;
- the lung system, since this molecule acts as a bronchodilator by opening the airways and relieving symptoms related, for example, to asthma;
- mood, as it activates dopamine and contains many antioxidants;
- headaches, also known as headaches, are soothed by the tightening of blood vessels in the brain caused by caffeine intake.
To be consumed in moderation.
But if caffeine is full of positive effects on our health, overconsumption can quickly reverse the trend and bring its share of risks.
For example, palpitations can be felt because of the acceleration of our heart rate.
If our alertness increases significantly after the absorption of a cup of our favorite caffeinated beverage, it is rather anxiety and insomnia that will win us if we abuse it.
It can also cause intestinal problems, ulcers, or gastric reflux due to increased gastric acid production.
Even though deaths have already been reported, the absorption of lethal doses is still rare. According to various studies, we should not consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, a figure that drops to 300 mg in pregnant women, to benefit from its benefits without suffering the negative effects. Also, be aware that, from one drink to another, the amounts of caffeine may differ.
Beyond the recommended dose, signs of dependence can be felt, such as headaches, irritability, concentration problems… It will then take a few days for the adenosine receptors, sensitive to caffeine intake, to get back up to the business. To help with withdrawal and relieve symptoms, the absorption of a low dose of caffeine accompanied by an analgesic is recommended.
Caffeine is everywhere
Even in the decaf! While it’s not overly concerned, it’s best to know the caffeine content of what you ingest daily.
So we find, about:
- 63 mg caffeine in 250 ml of hot chocolate;
- 175 mg caffeine in 250 ml of filter coffee;
- 100 mg caffeine in 50 ml of espresso coffee;
- 6 mg caffeine in 250 ml of decaffeinated;
- 42 mg caffeine in 250 ml of green or black tea;
- 80 mg caffeine in 250 ml of energy drink;
- 32 mg caffeine in 250 ml of soda.
Whether you’re addicted to coffee or your cup of tea with you throughout your day, the most important thing is obviously the pleasure you get from it. Then it’s all about moderation!