Coffee and Caffeine - The Popular Addiction that Works - But Slow Down, Daddy!
Coffee with its main ingredient of caffeine have been long time favorites of the human species to stay awake and function (you cute morning zombie, you), and it's on our list of recommended supplements for concentration and focus, but... (read on)
Coffee. The word itself makes the caffeine addict's mouth water (not only because it dehydrates you). "COFFEE WHAT!?" Screams the wired coffee zombie; coffee ice cream, coffee cakes, coffee candy, mocha, "Nescafe" (instant coffee), coffee donuts... There's even marijuana laced coffee products (by the way potential THC-lover, we don't recommend doing this, as there's not enough research out there to support that mixing caffeine and THC is an "okay" idea). We know it's not exactly a supplement, it is however a natural source of caffeine which can be supplemented to one's daily diet. While we still have your attention, we want to point out that (solely from our personal experiences) we completely DO NOT RECOMMEND consuming synthetic caffeine pills. We have found these to have significant "crashing" and other negative effects on the body which are consistent with our findings in this article and we don't feel it's a good outlet for maintaining concentration or focus. We also find that synthetic substances are inconsistent in their make and a lot of trust is given to such companies that fabricate these chemicals. Research has found that consumption of coffee with caffeine to have great benefits on a person, however, one should be sensitive and aware with the amount and frequency one consumes coffee to achieve the benefit without succumbing to risks.
Benefits of Coffee and Caffeine
- Clearly one of the best benefits of coffee is its ability to stay awake. In various studies, natural caffeine was found to have significant positive effects as a nootropic (mental and neurological cognition and function).
- Benefits to consistent use of coffee included reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers.
- Three different studies supported the fact that habitual use of coffee may protect against type II diabetes.
- Studies have found that habitual and infrequent intake of coffee (in general) increased metabolic effects and that body's ability to process foods / nutrition.
- Caffeinated coffee has the ability to also enhance physical exertion and performance. This also includes to some extent sexual performance and arousal.
- Research shows that most people get the majority of their antioxidants from consistent use of coffee, showing that regular but regulated use of coffee can be extremely beneficial with health.
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Coffee Side Effects and Precautions
- Coffee is known to raise blood pressure. This can be very dangerous for people middle-aged.
- Caffeinated products should definitely not be taken by pregnant and expecting mother. Pregnant mothers should utilize extreme caution because caffeine is found in various natural products (not just in coffee). One study found that coffee may prevent pregnancy as well.
- Varied dosages of caffeine can cause headaches or migraines in certain people, especially at elevated levels.
- Coffee dehydrates a person, it is very necessary to ensure that one compensates for the additional water excreted by the body by drinking around 1-2 cups of water for every cup of caffeinated coffee drank.
- Caffeine is a substance that one naturally builds a tolerance to, thus one should regulate use to avoid consuming no more than 1-2 cups of coffee per day. Once a tolerance is achieved, one should scale back for a period of a week or two.
- Coffee / caffeine has a large impact on the body clock, and its use should be taken with caution as it relates to sleep disorders and schedules. Earlier use of caffeine within the first third of one's day is ideal to avoid issues with sleep.
- Coffee can affect one's mood and may amplify feelings of anxiety, as well as that of depression. People susceptible to frequent mood changes and feelings, are often coffee drinkers and should be aware the impact that coffee may have on them. In consistency with the recommendations of this article for all people, but even more so to people sensitive to mood changes, lower dosages of caffeine should be taken. Generally doctors recommend about 5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of weight, we actually recommend a slightly lower amount to avoid attachment (no more than 1-2 cups of a coffee a day for the average adult).
Final Thoughts on Caffeinated Coffee
Coffee has obtained somewhat of a negative stigma in recent times; I would say in the last year or so, a few dozen friends and acquaintances of mine have mentioned to me that they cut out coffee from their diet because of a seemingly and perceptually negative outlook on how coffee would affect their future health. Research on consistent use of coffee has actually told a different story. Caffeinated coffee is largely beneficial for most people to drink. Sometimes people feel like coffee is an addiction, and because of the fuzzy effects it gives you from prolonged abuse, or perhaps if you drink it infrequently and are sensitive to its effects, that it will be harmful are simply untrue. The point of the article is lay claim that to make the most beneficial long term use of coffee as it relates to both health and ability to concentrate, it's far more superior to drink coffee consistently than it is to drink it infrequently or not at all, granted that a person be stringent about how much coffee with relation to milligrams of caffeine they intake daily.
The Amount is the Key - If You Find Yourself Drinking More - Then Stop or Slowdown
Believe it or not, studies show drinking less coffee can actually do more for you. The goal of drinking coffee is not to force the body to develop a tolerance but to give it a regular dosage so that the body makes the most of the humble amount of caffeine provided. When one feels a desire to drink more coffee (it is the most commonly heard request at any type of design or digital agency), it is highly advisable to find alternative means of waking yourself up - including in-office stretches/workouts (push-up power hour anyone? See how you feel after 30 full pushups!), other types of natural stimulants, and listening to music with headphones on.
Natural Coffee Alternatives
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NOTE: The content and insights Refokus shares is not a replacement for a professional medical consultation and advice, while we are often advised by research professionals and studies, you should always consult a medical professional to understand what's best for you.
I'm going to tell you a secret. A secret that few people in the room know. In order to stay up all-night, one fine mid-spring night where I waited until the last day to study for a midterm, I once beer-bonged 10 cups of coffee. Now I know what you're thinking... who with any level of intelligence would do such a thing? As an American-raised 18 or 19 year old in college, I was clearly not one of any intellectual capacity. The result was an inability to focus, intense shivers, the strong desire to run 200 miles, and my heart was beating out of my chest. But that's besides the point! I only mention to you the former to get your attention to the main point I wanted to make. Since that moment, I refused to drink coffee for many years. Not only so, I somewhat looked down on coffee drinkers as people who entirely relied on this "caffeine-drug" to get by. The truth is that coffee is largely beneficial, and there are really good cases for most people to incorporate coffee in one's morning or afternoon on a daily or consistent basis. The key to reaping the rewards of coffee is control, and being adamant about keeping daily use to 1-2 cups (potentially 3 for much larger persons). Capping consumption at this level of use will avoid overly developing a tolerance to caffeine and messing up your body's natural clock.
- Enhanced Attention, Alertness, Focus
- Fat-Fighter: a positive connection has been found with coffee's ability to metabolize fat.
- Impacts the prevention of type II Diabetes, liver cancer, other diseases.
- It's a main source of antioxidants
- Causes dehydration
- Overuse causes headaches
- Be aware that many natural and synthetic products already have caffeine in them.
- Easily addictive in terms of developing a reliance on caffeine for staying awake, which in turn builds a natural tolerance.
- Do not take if susceptible to intense mood swings, or if pregnant.