Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Do you start your day with a cup of kadak chai? Is your pizza incomplete without a can of coke? Do you sit in a café sipping coffee while your friend tells you the latest gossip? If yes, then you are not alone. We all do that. But here notice one thing. Your morning tea, your coke, and your coffee have one thing in common. And that is caffeine. Caffeine can impact your health – both in a good way and in a bad way. It depends on how much caffeine you have in a day.
Food and Drug Administration Department has said that intake of 400 mg of caffeine is OK for you. 400 mg of caffeine is equal to two to three cups of coffee, this much caffeine may make you alert, improve brain function, promote weight loss and may keep you safe from a wide range of diseases like stroke or cancer. These are benefits of caffeine if taken in moderation. But if your daily consumption of it is more than that of FDA recommendation then caffeine can certainly be harmful to you. Watch out for these signs and symptoms that might be telling you to cut back on your caffeine intake.
You feel anxious
Caffeine makes your body alert. And a high dose of caffeine may cause anxiety. It has to do with how caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which is fight or flight hormone. This hormone is associated with increased energy levels of the body. Whether or not you consume caffeine regularly, high doses of it might make you feel nervous, stressed and anxious. Instead of being able to do your day-to-day activities with extra efficiency, your productivity will be hampered.
You aren’t able to fall asleep
We all drink coffee or tea in the morning to shoo away sleepiness to be able to kick start the day. Caffeine quickly enters the bloodstream and stays in the body for good 4-6 hours doing its job. So, if you have caffeine in your body at your bedtime, it’ll be difficult for you to fall asleep. So, to be able to sleep and actually have quality sleep, keep a tab of your caffeine intake and especially avoid it near your bedtime.
Your blood pressure is high
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system leading to elevated blood pressure. Even a limited amount of caffeine can increase your blood pressure for a few hours. This can put your arteries at the risk of damage due to extra pressure and can restrict the flow of blood to the heart and brain. If the situation is not brought under control you may risk yourself to stroke or heart attack. Those who are already suffering from hypertension or heart diseases should watch their caffeine consumption.
You have digestive issues
For many people, caffeine helps in getting their bowels moving in the morning. It triggers a hormone in the stomach that speeds up the activity in the colon. So, it is not surprising that too much caffeine may lead to loose stools or even diarrhea. Caffeine may also worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Hence, it’s wise to limit your caffeine intake and never have it on an empty stomach if you frequently have an upset stomach or indigestion.
It has become a necessity for you
You can get addicted to caffeine. The fact that it makes you alert, you might feel that it helps in increasing your productivity and you’ll reach out for a cup again and again. As you make it a habit your body will become tolerant of it and you’ll feel the need of increasing your dosage to keep your productivity levels high. And, hence, you get addicted to caffeine.
You get caffeine withdrawal symptoms
Daily consumption of caffeine even in moderation leads to addiction, as discussed above. And when all of sudden you don’t give your body its daily dose of caffeine, it will react and cause withdrawal symptoms. You might get headaches, feel tired, anxious, and irritable and your concentration and alertness levels may start going south. These caffeine withdrawal symptoms may begin 12-24 hours after stopping the consumption.
Please note that tea and coffee are not the only sources of caffeine. Energy drinks, soft drinks, cocoa beverage, chocolate milk, dark chocolate and all kinds of tea and coffee including decaffeinated coffee also has caffeine in it. So when you are calculating your caffeine consumption, you need to include these items as well.
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