Is Caffeine Good For You?
So, here we are approaching bonfire night to launch the new site (that we’ve been working on for a while) and the nights are more than just starting to draw in. Lots of people are out and about enjoying the fireworks and watching the Guy burn on a huge pile of pallets. Of course, our friends over at the fire service are on high alert, as there will inevitably be accidents when large numbers of people are out and about mixing with fire and explosives. Surprisingly, perhaps, today;s update isn’t about burns, or smoke inhalation or actually anything of that nature at all. It’s actually come about as the result of a question that came up today relating to the humble cup of coffee.
Many of us love to enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee – especially first thing in the morning. It’s something that millions of us use every day without giving much thought to, and although we know caffeine is a drug, a lot of the time we don’t stop and think about whether its really the same as other things that we might consider drug abuse. The good news is, coffee is perfectly legal, and safe to enjoy at will, at least according to all the research we’ve come across. It is a stimulant, which means that your morning cup of coffee really does help you wake up and become alert for the morning commute, there’s certainly no placebo effect there!
If you drink a lot of coffee (and are the sort of person that spent far too much money and time researching that Delonghi coffee machine), you might suffer from headaches and possibly insomnia if you drink it too close to bedtime, but many people do exactly that and have no problems sleeping at all. The reason for this is that we all have a different tolerance to caffeine, and exactly how our bodies react to it is individual to us too. If you consider people who don’t drink tea or coffee at all, you might notice that they can often wake up and bounce into the daily routine much faster than people that do regularly drink coffee in the morning if they don’t get their fix. That’s not just because it’s a dependence on caffeine, as you might expect – at least not entirely. In fact, what can happen is our bodies are so used to our freshly brewed drinks doing the job for us, the brain needs to but less effort into producing and releasing the chemicals required to wake up as quickly without our morning dose.
To address another point, there have been plenty of rumours over the years connecting excessive coffee intake to diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but the good news is that these links have never been proven to exist, and in many cases as those links show, they’re believed to actually have a moderate benefit in sufferers. That’s not to say there isn’t any connection at all, but it’s certainly not a clear cut as some people make out. In a lesser extreme, if you suffer from stress at work, or have a history of certain anxiety related conditions yourself, or if there’s a pattern in the family, it might be worth moderating your intake of caffeine, as this could have a calming effect due to a reduction in the amount of stimulants entering your body. Experts in the field have stopped short of advising people to give up in general, however if your doctor or other medical professional have advised you to remove them temporarily or entirely, that’s advice that should be heeded.
To look at the coffee you drink from the other angle, can it be good for you? Well, many studies have said yes, caffeine can be beneficial. Just as with the attempts to prove or disprove links to illnesses, the evidence has been patchy. As with so many things in life, it’s probably best to treat caffeine as something to enjoy in moderation. That doesn’t mean limit yourself to one cup a day, and similarly fifteen or twenty probably won’t do you any favours. It’s a drug after all, albeit one that you’re perfectly entitled to self prescribe and buy off the shelf. For years students have even bought caffeine loaded Pro Plus to get them through cramming for their final exams, but we don’t advise that approach!