What is Caffeine? Is It Good or Bad for Health?

 What is Caffeine? Is It Good or Bad for Health?

Each day, billions of people around the world rely on caffeine to wake up, or to get through that night shift or an afternoon slump.

In fact, this natural stimulant is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the world.

Caffeine is often talked for its negative effects on sleep and anxiety.

However, studies also report that it has various health benefits.

What is Caffeine? Is It Good or Bad for Health?

This article examines the latest research on caffeine and your health.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant which is most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants.

It works by stimulating the brain , work function of brain and central nervous system, helping you stay alert and prevent the onset of tiredness.

Its History 

Historians track that the first brewed tea as far back as 2737 B.C. 

Coffee was reportedly discovered many years later by an Ethiopian shepherd who noticed the extra energy it gave to his goats.

Caffeinated soft drinks hit the market in the late 1800s and  energy drinks soon followed after that.

Nowadays, 80% of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day, and this number goes up to 90% for adults living in North America.

How it works

Once consumed, caffeine is quickly absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream.

From there, it travels to the liver and is broken down into compounds that can affect the function of various organs in our body.

Caffeine’s main effect is on the brain .

It functions by blocking the effects of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter which relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired .

Normally, adenosine levels build up over the day, making you increasingly feel more tired and causing you to want to go to sleep.

Caffeine helps you to stay awake by connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them. This blocks the effects of adenosine, resulting to reduced tiredness.

This combination further stimulates our brain and promotes a state of arousal, alertness, and focus. Because it affects your brain, caffeine is also often referred to as a psychoactive drug.

Caffeine tends to exert its effects quickly.

For some instance, the amount found in one cup of coffee can take as little as 20 minutes to reach the bloodstream and about 1 hour to reach full effectiveness.


Caffeine’s main effect is on the brain. It stimulates the brain by blocking the effects of the neurotransmitter adenosine.

Which foods and drinks contain caffeine?

Caffeine is naturally found in the  nuts, seeds or leaves of certain plants.

These natural sources are then harvested and processed to produce caffeinated foods and beverages to and are then made available for use.

Here are the amounts of caffeine expected per 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of some popular beverages around the world:

Coffee: 102–200 mg

Cocoa beverage: 2–7 mg

Chocolate milk: 2–7 mg

Brewed tea: 40–120 mg

Yerba mate: 65–130 mg

Energy drinks: 50–160 mg

Soft drinks: 20–40 mg

Decaffeinated coffee: 3–12 mg

Espresso: 240–720 mg

Some foods also contain caffeine , like, 1 ounce (28 grams) of milk chocolate contains 1–15 mg, whereas 1 ounce of dark chocolate has 5–35 mg .

You can also find caffeine in some of the prescription or over-the-counter drugs like cold, allergy, and pain medications.


Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and energy drinks.

May improve mood and brain function.

Caffeine has the ability to block the brain-signaling molecule adenosine.

This causes a relative increase in other signaling molecules, such as dopamine .

This change in brain messaging is thought to benefit your mood and  function of brain.

Improves alertness, short-term recall, and reaction time .

A study reported a 13% lower risk of depression in caffeine consumers .

Coffee and Tea

When it comes to mood, more caffeine isn’t necessarily a better option.

A study found that a second cup of coffee produced no further benefits unless it was consumed at least 8 hours after having first cup.

Drinking between 3–5 cups of coffee per day or more than 3 cups of tea per day may also reduce the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by 28–60% .

It’s important to note that coffee and tea contain other bioactive compounds (besides caffeine) that may also be beneficial to health .


Caffeine may improve mood, decrease the likelihood of depression, stimulate brain function, and protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

What is Caffeine? Is It Good or Bad for Health?

May boost metabolism and fat burning

Because of its ability to stimulate the central nervous system, caffeine may increase metabolism up to 11% and fat burning by up to 13% .

Practically , consuming 300 mg of caffeine per day may allow you to burn an extra 79 calories daily .


Caffeine may boost metabolism and promote fat loss, but these effects are likely to remain small over the long term.

ALSO SEE : WHAT IS YOGA ? What are the benefits of Yoga, and How to start practicing YOGA?

May enhance exercise performance

When it comes to exercise, caffeine may increase the use of fat as a fuel.

This is beneficial for the body because it can help the glucose stored in muscles last longer, potentially delaying the time it takes your muscles to reach exhaustion ..

Caffeine may also improve the muscle contractions and increase tolerance to fatigue .

Researchers observed that doses of 2.3 mg per pound (5 mg per kg) of body weight improved endurance performance by up to 5%  when consumed almost 1 hour before exercise .

Finally, it may also reduce perceived exertion during exercise by up to 5.6%, which can make workout feel easier .


Consuming small amounts of caffeine almost about an hour before exercise is likely to improve exercise performance.

Other health benefits of coffee

Coffee consumption is linked to several other health benefits , mentioned below:

Liver protection : Coffee may reduce the risk of liver damage  by upto 84%. 

It may slow disease progression, improve treatment response, and also lowers the risk of premature death.

Longevity : Drinking coffee may also decrease the risk of premature death by as much as 30%, especially for women and people with diabetes .

Decreased cancer risk : Drinking 2–3 cups of coffee per day may reduce liver cancer risk by up to 64% and colorectal cancer risk by up to 38% .

Skin protection : Consuming 2–3  cups of caffeinated coffee per day may lower the risk of skin cancer by 20% .

Reduced MS risk : Coffee drinkers may have up to a 30% lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). However, not all the studies agree.

Gout prevention : Regularly drinking 3 cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of developing gout by 40% in men and 57% in women .

Gut health : Consuming maximum 3 cups of coffee a day for as few as 3 weeks may increase the amount and activity of beneficial gut bacteria .

Keep in mind that coffee also contains some other substances that improves our health. Some benefits listed above may be caused by substances other than caffeine.


Drinking coffee may also promote a healthy liver, skin, and digestive tract. It may also prolong life and help prevent several types of diseases.

Safety and side effects

Caffeine consumption is generally considered as safe, although habit forming.

Some side effects linked to excess intake include anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and trouble in sleeping .

Too much caffeine may also promote headaches, migraine, and high blood pressure in some  individuals.

Caffeine can easily cross the placenta, which can increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight.

Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake.

Individuals taking the muscle relaxant Zanaflex or the antidepressant Luvox should avoid caffeine because these drugs can increase their effects .


Caffeine can have negative side effects in some people, including anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.

Recommended dosages

Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider a daily intake of around 400 mg of caffeine to be safe. This amounts to be 2–4 cups of coffee per day.

Therefore, it’s recommended to limit the amount of caffeine you intake at one time to 200 mg per dose.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should limit their daily intake to 200 mg .


A caffeine intake of 200 mg per dose, and up to 400 mg per day, is generally considered safe. Pregnant women should limit their daily intake to 200 mg or less.

What is Caffeine? Is It Good or Bad for Health?


Caffeine isn’t as unhealthy as it was once believed .

Therefore, it is considered safe to drink daily cup of coffee or tea as an enjoyable way to promote good health.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not consume higher dose of Caffeine , take that much amount which is generally considered safe.

ALSO READ :  Top Best Supplements to Boost Your Immune System in COVID-19 pandemic

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post