Is caffeine our friend or our enemy?

Caffeine is recognized as one of the most consumed psychoactive substances in the world. Its main source is coffee, which is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, consumed in about two billion cups a day.


In addition to coffee, caffeine also occurs naturally in other foods and drinks. Namely, chocolate, black tea, green tea and yerba mate. The concentration of caffeine in these foods varies. In addition to natural sources, there are many drinks, foods, and even medicines that contain caffeine. In fact, even decaffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea often contain a small amount of caffeine as a result of processing.


We use these drinks mainly as an “energy booster” in our daily lives, but do we actually know what effect caffeine has on our body? Continue to read and in this article you will find out about the possible benefits we get out of drinking coffee or vice versa about the detrimental effects of it.


Caffeine has a number of supposed positive effects. For example, a larger study found that people who consumed 4 to 6 cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee daily had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.1 As for heart health, research shows that those who consume moderate amounts of coffee daily have an 11% lower risk of heart failure compared to those who do not.2 Presumably, these effects are not solely due to caffeine, as coffee contains a number of other useful nutrients in addition to caffeine, such as riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), magnesium, potassium, and various polyphenols that have antioxidant properties.


Before we start increasing our coffee consumption due to the beneficial effects mentioned above, it is worth looking at the other side of the coin as well. For, as the saying goes, “One can have too much of a good thing”. For example, research has observed that consuming large amounts of caffeine (> 400mg / day) may increase the risk of anxiety.3 It is well known that coffee consumption during pregnancy is to some extent “permitted”, but it is definitely worth making sure that the recommendation is not exceeded, as high coffee consumption during pregnancy has also been associated with higher risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and preterm birth. The recommended amount for pregnant mothers is 200 mg of caffeine, which is about 2 mugs of instant coffee, three short espressos or three mugs of black tea.


A good coffee can help a lot in the morning to start our day. But what about caffeinated drinks consumed during the rest of the day? Studies have shown that coffee consumed 6 hours before bedtime can also interfere with nighttime sleep.4So, if you’re a regular afternoon coffee drinker and your evening sleep doesn’t go smoothly, you might want to switch to decaffeinated options in the late afternoon.


How we react to caffeine varies from person to person. Influencing factors such as gender, age, weight, diet, genetics, smoking, hormonal fluctuations can all affect the reaction.


In conclusion, coffee and other caffeinated beverages have a place in a balanced diet and lifestyle. It is important to pay attention and minimize consumption during pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth complications. Adequate amount and quality of sleep plays a very important role in our health so it is worth making sure that our coffee drinking habits do not interfere with our night’s sleep. Although we have mentioned that compounds with antioxidant properties are found in coffee, it is important to mention that these compounds can also be obtained from vegetables and fruits, so a balanced and varied diet continues to play an important role.


1: doi: 10.1136 / bmj.j5024
2: doi.10.1161 / CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.967299
3: doi: 10.3233 / JAD-2010-1378
4: doi: 10.5664 / jcsm.3170

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