Some people can’t start their day without a hot cup of coffee. Others ritually drink black tea as a healthier alternative for the famous black, caffeine filled drink. You will raise your eyebrows when you find out how little you actually know about your favorite beverage. One cup of black tea for instance, will give you a double boost of energy more than one espresso, because it contains higher amounts of caffeine. Depending on your preferences and your health condition, that could be either good or bad. Many people argued before and we are still arguing today, whether coffee or tea is a better energy provider. Truth to be told, they both have their perks, but both of them can be dangerous to the health if the amount consumed is larger than the recommended daily dose. If caffeine is the ingredient in these drinks you wanted to know more about, you should know that guarana, mate, cocoa and cola are good sources too. Painkillers, like aspirin, diet pills and cold medications contain caffeine too, but it will be better to consume this alkaloid naturally, as to avoid drug addiction and the nasty side effects of using them.

Caffeine Effects on the Brain

That ritual morning cup of coffee is not an accident. Your body demands it and you are slowly getting used to it, because it changes the chemical production in your brain. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that neuroscience have been researching at least two decades. We still don’t know much about its functions, but for now we know that its functionality is aroused by caffeine. People whose dopamine reception is blocked or altered are predisposed to addictions and dopamine deficiency is known to cause Parkinson’s disease. Heroin and cocaine are known to manipulate the dopamine levels in the brain by decelerating the dopamine absorption. Caffeine does the same thing, only at a slower rate. Once the adenosine reception is blocked, adrenaline is released and you feel happy and alert. Slow rates of dopamine reception cause the brain cells to identify pain less frequently, which is why your headaches stops once you take the first sips of hot coffee. The bad news in this case is the fact that even though the alertness effect stays for a couple of hours, the altered chemical processes will keep functioning differently for much longer. You may be able to fall asleep two hours after you had your coffee, but you won’t be able to fall deeply into sleep. While you sleep, the adrenaline will wear off and once you wake up, you’ll need another caffeine drink to boost your brain power. Dopamine is very tricky because it teaches your brain to recognize the things you like, the things that make you feel happy and pain free. In this case, caffeine stirs your brain and makes it alert and as soon as you know, you can’t imagine starting a day without a hot cup of tea, coffee or some energy drink.

When you need to learn or remember something, caffeine is known to enhance memory retention. Many students drink coffee for the same reason, but to add medical significance to this fact, we will have to explain how this alkaloid boosts the hypothalamus. Other than stimulating all brain muscles, caffeine concentrates the calcium production in the hypothalamus. Larger amounts of calcium improve the signal flow between brain cells, which results in improved memory and attention.

Caffeine and Your Diet

Implementing caffeine in your diet may be a good idea only if you blend this alkaloid in your exercise routine or nutritional plan. Otherwise, caffeine consumption alone is dangerous and may harm your kidneys and digestive tract. One of the reasons why caffeine can help you lose weight is because it suppresses appetite. Even though this is more of a short term effect, you will still be able to postpone your meals for at least half an hour. If you were especially concerned about your health and you know skipping meals is not the healthiest way to wellness, you can also consume caffeine to make the calories burn faster. This is because of a bodily process called thermogenesis. Through thermogenesis, the body uses the consumed food to generate energy and heat, instead of transforming the nutriments into fat and cellulite. Caffeine improves this process and forces it to happen faster, which benefits your waist line and metabolism altogether. Slimming down is not an easy task, whether you consider yourself to be obese or not. Still, losing weight must be achieved naturally and in the safest possible way. Usually, the gained weight does not appear overnight and it’s a process that includes your dieting and eating habits. Lots of caffeine based pre-workout supplements promise amazing results from your exercise, but be careful not to trust commercials too much. Drinking dietary or bodybuilding supplements with caffeine may cause unnecessary side effects. They are a high risk slimming option for individuals diagnosed heart diseases and problems and in most cases, once you stop using them, you can easily gain the lost weight back. Instead, you can search for the right daily caffeine dose for your weight and age and start using teas and coffee in your dietary plan. For healthy adults the recommended daily dose is around 400 milligrams. One cup of black tea will provide your body with around 40 milligrams of caffeine, but this amount might vary depending on the type of tea you usually drink, and whether or not is decaffeinated or not. Remember that even though the box says the product is decaffeinated, the product still contains at least 10 milligrams of this alkaloid. Some Starbucks coffee options will satisfy your daily caffeine intake, where one Grande Starbucks order might have between 200 and 350 milligrams of caffeine in it. If you are pregnant, this 400 milligram dosage must be lowered to 200 milligrams, but most doctors will recommend you stop drinking coffee altogether. If you are expecting and still can’t give up your morning boost easily, white tea will do the trick, as a beverage containing the lowest amount of caffeine.

Caffeine Withdrawal and Negative Effects

Caffeine is a stimulator and a psychoactive drug with a molecular structure very similar to that of heroin and cocaine. The effects it causes are also similar and addictive. You may not be willing to kill a man without your daily dose of coffee, but you will feel like standing near the edge and ready to jump. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders you will find caffeine withdrawal as one of the listed symptoms, for the reasons that more and more people each day are becoming coffee addicts and suffering its aftereffects. When you teach your brain to function better and faster on caffeine, the first symptoms you can expect to experience once you stop using it, are headaches and tiredness. The caffeine headache starts from behind the eyes and moves to the top of the head. When you feel tired without a coffee or caffeine based a product, that’s just your regular tiredness. The first day without coffee will feel like a long hangover. You won’t be able to concentrate and your mind will wander, unable to stay focused on one subject. If you want to quit caffeine completely, the best way would be to start cutting off the doses slightly, so that your body and brain can adjust to the new chemical environment. You may feel a little more depressed and lethargic than usual, but every new habit takes time to become a routine. Living life without caffeine is possible, but keep in mind that even it’s considered a drug, small doses each day will prove to be very beneficial. It is not advisable however, for patients with ADHD, bipolar and anxiety disorders to drink caffeine based beverages, because its components may worsen their condition. People with low blood pressure will find caffeine to be a natural buff, which makes patients with high blood pressure not very suitable coffee boozers. Caffeine speeds up the heart rate and makes the blood to pump more dynamically. If you have diarrhea, caffeine will make it worse because it stimulates the bowel movements. On the other hand, if you start avoiding caffeine products, your stool might become a little denser than what you usually evacuate. Athletes sometimes drink caffeine based drinks or supplements prior their workout, to avoid muscle sting and soreness. When you decide to stop drinking coffee or tea for a couple of days, your muscles might become sore and stiff. Luckily, all of these symptoms will last for a couple of days to a week, depending how fast your metabolism is.

Other than medical reasons, a person should not avoid this alkaloid. You can easily find its substitute, but its nutritional value is unique and can be quite beneficial for the overall health. You may have to eat a handful of other foods to achieve the effects you will normally achieve with one cup of coffee, green, black or white tea. Caffeine is a very powerful natural nutriment, which, if used right can only support your long term wellness plan.


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