Every day, there are billions of people who rely on caffeine for a wake-up boost. Caffeine is a natural stimulant and it is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the world. However, it is also usually talked about for its negative effects on anxiety and sleep. But some studies say caffeine has various health benefits as well.
Caffeine is usually found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system which help us stay alert and prevent the onset of tiredness. It is consumed from a variety of sources every day in different parts of the world and it has been for hundreds of years. It is also a natural part of more than 60 different types of plants like kola nuts, coffee beans, guarana, cocoa beans, and tea leaves.
Aside from that, caffeine is also synthetically produced to be used in different beverages and foods. But it does not matter whether the caffeine is naturally occurring such as in coffee or tea, or used as an added ingredient such as in cola and energy drinks, as there is no biological or chemical difference because our bodies respond to them in exactly the same way.
It is up to us whether when, where, and how we consume caffeine. For the people who consume it, it is usually for a reason that caffeine is popular for its stimulative or “pick-me-up” quality. But aside from that, how much do you know about caffeine and the nutrition it has?
Benefits of Caffeine
Caffeine is one of the most researched and studied ingredients in the world. It has been scrutinized time and again from scientific assessments to the billions of people who consume coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and energy drinks daily all over the world. Coffee is the largest contributor to caffeine, but it has a lot of healthful properties. According to consumer reports from 2015, people aged 50 to 71 who drank at least a cup of coffee daily had a lower risk of dying from diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems when followed for more than a decade.
Aside from that, here are the other benefits you can get from caffeine:
It May Improve Metabolism and Speed Up Weight Loss
Caffeine can stimulate the central nervous system, therefore, it can also increase metabolism by up to 11% and fat burning by up to 13%. If you consume 300mg of caffeine daily, it may allow you to burn an extra 79 calories per day.
It May Enhance Exercise Performance
Caffeine may increase the use of fat as fuel when it comes to exercise. Aside from that, it may also improve muscle contractions and increase tolerance to fatigue.
It Can Protect the Liver
Caffeine intake may reduce the risk of liver damage by up to 84%. It may also slow disease progression, improve treatment response, and lower the risk of premature death.
It Can Protect Skin
When you consume 4 or more cups of coffee a day, it may help you lower the risk of skin cancer by 20%.
It Can Prevent Gout
Consuming 3 cups of caffeine daily for as few as 3 weeks can increase the amount and activity of beneficial gut bacteria, helping you to prevent suffering from gout.
Ideal Amount of Caffeine
Based on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, moderate caffeine consumption up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is not associated with increased risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. It means that 400 mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults and that is roughly the equivalent of 4 cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, and 2 energy shot drinks.
Coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine should be consumed moderately. For an individual consumer to stay within the recommended moderate levels of caffeine, he needs to know how much caffeine is in the foods or beverages he consumes. However, that is usually where the problem begins. It’s because very few products list the amount of caffeine they contain. Therefore, how would you know how much caffeine is in a common portion of some of the most popular products?
According to the comments filed with the Dietary Guidelines Committee in 2014, the National Consumers League suggested the following when it comes to caffeine-containing foods and beverage.
All products that contain caffeine should disclose the total amount of caffeine per serving and container.
This means that all products containing caffeine should follow this guideline. This includes those marketed as dietary supplements which usually contain extremely high levels of caffeine. Aside from that, this should also apply to the top three sources of caffeine which are coffee, tea, and soda. This way, the consumers would determine their daily intake and make sure that it is in line with the recommendations.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans should address caffeine holistically.
Based on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, caffeine is a potential problem when it is consumed in the form of “high caffeine” energy drinks. Aside from that, dietary supplements such as caffeine pills, powders, and shots also contain excessive and potentially harmful levels of caffeine that can be abused easily. Therefore, the consumers should be informed to steer clear of caffeine capsules, sprays, powders, and shots.
Look at energy drinks alongside other caffeinated products.
The main source of caffeine among both adults and children are coffee, tea, and carbonated soft drinks. But aside from those, consumers should also be educated about other caffeinated products.
Even though most of us are very familiar with caffeine, common sense and moderation are still important. Also, caffeine may not be for everyone. Even when most people think it is an important part of their day, it is not a nutrient. You need to keep in mind that caffeinated products are not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, and as well as to those who are sensitive to caffeine. Caffeine labeling and guidance on daily levels is a great start to make sure all consumers can make informed choices.
We hope the information we shared will help you in deciding how much caffeine to consume each day and as well as in choosing caffeinated products.