Are you sitting comfortably with a nice big cup of coffee? If you are, you might not want to read this blog post. Actually, to be exact, you need to know what kind of damage that nice ol’ cup of coffee could do to your body. Like the title of this post suggests, caffeine isn’t quite good for you. While caffeine does have some health benefits – it’s been proven to reduce the risk of liver cancer, skin cancer, and Parkinson’s disease – it’s good only when taken in moderation. The Mayo Clinic says that you should ingest no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day. That’s 2 Grande Lattes from Starbucks, 5 cans of Mountain Dew, or 3 small cans of Red Bull. Anything more is considered excessive.
Caffeine Contributes to Depression and Fatigue
Yes, really. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine will make you feel gloomy and sluggish. While indulging on an occasional cookie or bottle of soda is good for triggering a “sugar buzz” that lifts your spirits, constantly ingesting sugar and caffeine can result in depression and fatigue. Doctors often tell their severely depressed patients to cut sugar and caffeine from their diets (thus saving them money on future health insurance costs!) The results are usually very remarkable. People report feeling a lot happier and more energetic after giving up their morning coffee and donuts.
Caffeine Dehydrates You
If you drink too much caffeine, your body starts losing water. Much like alcohol, caffeinated drinks are diuretics, meaning they take more water out of your body than they put in. If you can’t give up your morning tea, that’s OK. You just need to drink a glass of water for every caffeine drink in order to stay hydrated.
Caffeine Causes Fertility Issues
Researchers aren’t quite sure why. They believe that, since caffeine changes the balance of hormones in the body, it may interfere with a woman’s ability to ovulate. After studying over 1,400 women at John Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, researchers concluded that the women who consumed more than the recommended amount of caffeine a day (300 mg) were at least twice as likely to have delayed conception than the women who consumed less. In extreme cases, caffeine may even cause infertility.
Caffeine Adds to Stress
Next time you stay up all night working to meet a deadline, pass on that 5-hour energy shot. You’d be better off without any more caffeine in your body, because it stimulates the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that raises your blood pressure and heart rate. A study conducted at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center found that those drinking just 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day had much higher blood pressure than those who drank less.
Caffeine Reduces the Absorption of Vitamins
You may want to think twice about downing your vitamin supplements with Pepsi. Caffeine is known to block the absorption of many kinds of vitamins, including calcium, iron, and vitamin D. The effect of caffeine varies greatly from one vitamin to the next. Take iron, for instance. Caffeine can reduce absorption of iron by up to 80%. You can read more about that here.
Tip on Controlling Your Caffeine Intake
The best way to control your caffeine intake is to stop using it as your daily ritual. Instead of drinking a cup coffee to start your day, you can drink a glass of milk or water. If you’re a soda addict, you can replace soda with juice. Use caffeinated drinks only when you need a “sugar buzz”.
Giving up or cutting back on caffeine is hard, but it’s totally doable. Your body will thank you!
This guest post is written by Scott Webster, a part time blogger, who is currently writing on behalf of Health.com.au. Health.com.au is an Australian health insurance company which offers a quick and simple health insurance cover plan.