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The good and bad of caffeine- truth and misconceptions

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The good and bad of caffeine

We all love a good cup of coffee early in the morning. It is what starts our day on a healthy note. But did you actually know about how caffeine affects your body? Conflicting information exists on the internet about the good and bad of caffeine. Here’s what you need to know:

The good about caffeine:


Caffeine has been shown to stimulate alertness and improve mental performance even with a low intake of 250mg.


People generally experience an improved sense of well-being, happiness, energy, alertness and sociability.


Caffeine greatly improves cognitive functioning.


Caffeine allows for lesser exhaustion and helps us be more productive and functional. Caffeine affects the utilization of glycogen which is in turn responsible for exhaustion.

Reduced Muscle Pain

Caffeine stimulates the release of endorphins and hormones that depress the sensation of pain and discomfort.

Faster Effects of Medication

Caffeine constricts the blood vessels and helps our body absorb medications more quickly, which is why it is added to some pain medications.

Diabetes Prevention

Coffee contains minerals and antioxidants which help prevent diabetes. It also stimulates our muscles to burn sugar and fat faster.


Antioxidants in caffeine help to stabilize free radicals and stop them from doing damage. If a free radical is formed in a cell and it is not neutralized, it can damage the DNA of the cell.

The bad about caffeine:

Cardiovascular Problems

Approximately 4 cups of coffee or a beverage with equivalent amounts of caffeine can raise blood pressure for many hours. The measured blood pressure levels are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


Caffeine increases stress hormones and elevates one’s perception of stress. Decreasing coffee and caffeinated beverages will help to lower often exaggerated stress-reactions.

Emotional Disturbances

When more than 2g. of caffeine enters the body, the heart becomes stimulated and blood vessels dilate. Shortly after, blood pressure increases, causing bronchial relaxation in the lungs and increased breathing. These physiological reactions tend to cause irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and agitation.

Blood Sugar Swings

Type 2 diabetics should be aware that caffeine may potentially impair insulin’s action, causing a detectable rise in blood sugar levels. Approximately 2 to 2 ½ cups per day may cause this effect.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Because it is a stimulant, caffeine can cause increased contractions of stomach muscles – possibly causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increased bowel movements.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients and causes the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and trace minerals.

Male Health Problems

Research shows that men can significantly reduce their risk for urinary and prostate problems by making dietary changes, which include eliminating coffee and caffeine.

Female Health Problems

Women on birth control pills are particularly at risk since they tend to have a decreased ability to detoxify caffeine.


Caffeine tolerance may decrease with age. It dehydrates the body, contributes to aging of the skin and kidneys, inhibits DNA repair and slows the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins.

The good and bad of caffeine. With inputs from:



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