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10 Health Benefits of Caffeine

Updated on April 23, 2017

Caffeine Meaning

Caffeine is a stimulant chemical found naturally in beverages like tea and coffee. This alkaloid compound stimulates the central nervous system (CNS). This bitter white substance is a xanthine and is similar in structure to theobromine and theophylline.

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Caffeine Health Benefits

Caffeine offers many health benefits. Here is a brief overview of ten caffeine benefits.

Increases Alertness

Many research studies have proved that moderate caffeine intake increases alertness. During one such study, alerting effects of caffeine were assessed using a standard physiological measure of daytime sleepiness/alertness, the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT).

24 healthy young men were randomly assigned to have 250 mg of caffeine or placebo administered double blind, at 9 am and 1 pm on each of two days. On the third day both groups were given placebo to test for conditioning to the alerting effects of caffeine.

Each day sleep latency was measured at 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm and performance was assessed. Caffeine increased sleep latency and auditory vigilance performance compared to placebo.

Tolerance to the effects of caffeine on sleep latency developed over the four administrations. On the conditioning test the group that was given caffeine the previous two days was more alert and performed better than the placebo group.

Caffeine fights sleep inertia and increases your ability to concentrate. It also reduces fatigue. Caffeine enhances performance on vigilance tasks and simple tasks that require sustained response.

Reduces the Risk of Mouth and Throat Cancer

Some epidemiological studies indicate that drinking coffee halves the risk of mouth and throat cancers. One such study concluded that people who drink more than four cups of coffee every day have a 49 percent lower risk of developing cancers of the mouth and throat.

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Prevents Stroke

A study conducted in Sweden indicated that women who drank more than one cup of coffee every day reduced their risk of stroke by around 25 percent. In the study, scientists followed 34,670 women (aged between 49 and 83) for an average 10.4 years. Those who drank little or no coffee had an increased instance of stroke.

Delays the Onset Of Alzheimer's Disease

Caffeine, which is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world, delays the onset of Alzheimer's Disease (AD), which is the main cause of dementia.

Prevents Parkinson's Disease

A research study on 812 subjects in Singapore indicates that people who drink coffee are less likely to be affected by Parkinson's disease than those who do not drink the beverage.

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Improves Memory

Many research studies indicate that a dose of caffeine after a learning session may help to boost long-term memory. One such study was published in Nature Neuroscience, a monthly scientific journal.

Promotes Eye Health

A research study conducted at Cornell University indicates that coffee prevents eyesight deterioration. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Caffeine prevents cataracts. It is used to treat dry eyes.

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Good for the Liver

Moderate coffee consumption reduces the risk of many liver related diseases like fibrosis, liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Promotes Healthy Hair Growth

A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology indicates that caffeine stimulates the hair shaft and helps it grow faster by blocking the effects of DHT, a chemical that damages follicles.

Reduces Muscle Pain

Moderate consumption of caffeine can relieve pain. In fact this bitter crystalline alkaloid is an ingredient in analgesics like Excedrin. It also enhances stamina while performing physical exercises.

Does Caffeine Harm Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women?

Caffeine intake of pregnant women should not exceed 200-300 mg/day; that would be around two cups of coffee. Breastfeeding mothers can consume coffee in moderation.

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Is Caffeine Good For Children?

At low levels, caffeine enhances alertness and focus in children, but excessive consumption causes nervousness, jitteriness, headache and hypertension. Many experts are of the opinion that children and caffeine are a dangerous combination.

Caffeine Side Effects

Moderate consumption of caffeine does not cause any harm. Excessive consumption may cause increased respiration, restlessness, vomiting, stomach irritation, insomnia, nervousness, nausea and increased heart rate.

Natural Sources of Caffeine

Caffeine occurs naturally in around 60 plant species, including coffee beans, guarana berries, kola nuts, yaupon holly, tea leaves, guayusa, yerba maté, and cocoa beans.

Is Caffeine Addictive?

Regular use of caffeine causes mild physical dependence; however, caffeine doesn't threaten your physical, social, or economic health the way addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine, nicotine and methadone do.

5 Popular Products With High Caffeine Content

Sl No
Product
Caffeine Content (mg)
1
Crackheads Gourmet Chocolate Coffee Caffeine
600
2
Starbucks Coffee, Blonde Roast
475
3
Dunkin' Donuts Coffee with Turbo Shot
398
4
Bang Energy
357
5
Starbucks Coffee, Pike Place Roast
310

Summary

  • Caffeine stimulates the CNS.
  • Caffeine increases alertness.
  • Caffeine promotes a healthy liver.
  • Caffeine prevents stroke.
  • Pregnant women should not drink more than two cups of coffee in a day.

Coffee is a language in itself.

— Jackie Chan

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