Lifestyle | Caffeine & Health
How much caffeine do you consume every day? What's your favourite source of caffeine?
Guidelines recommend a limit of 400mg of caffeine per day for non-pregnant adults, which is roughly 2 cups of brewed coffee or 14 small cups of green tea. (Personally, I can't imagine drinking that much tea without suffering from some massive diuresis.)
I love a warm, bittersweet mug of coffee like anyone else but just half a cup is enough to wake me up. Any more and I end up an anxious and jittery wreck. Why am I so sensitive to it while others drink it like water? What is caffeine and how does it work?
[Watch TED-Ed's animated explanation on how caffeine works here]
NEJM recently released a review on coffee, caffeine and their effects on health. Coffee and caffeine consumption are associated with benefits across various systems in the human body, from the heart to the liver to the brain:
It's important to note, however, the difference between caffeine and coffee. Though caffeine increases blood pressure and reduces insulin sensitivity in the short-term, other components of coffee can counteract these effects, leading to associations instead with improved cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes in the long-term. In fact, coffee consumption has been associated with reduced all-cause mortality in studies across the world.
But let's take these coffee studies with a pinch of salt, rather than sugar. Associations between caffeine intake and chronic diseases can be confounded by both lifestyle and genetic factors, with differing rates of caffeine metabolism seen across a population. Cup sizes and brew strengths differ as well.
Overall though, coffee and caffeine intake have shown many potential benefits to health with little accompanying risks, if consumed in moderation. So, feel free to drink up!
Reference: van Dam, R., Hu, F., & Willett, W. (2020). Coffee, Caffeine, and Health. New England Journal Of Medicine, 383(4), 369-378. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmra1816604
What if coffee's not your cup of tea? Have you read anything about the benefits of tea consumption, beyond the effects of caffeine?