Wake up and smell the coffee, is how the saying goes. A cup of coffee is usually all it takes for so many of us to kickstart our day and calibrate our focus towards the various tasks that we need to manage.
While coffee has a number of advantages such as helping us stay alert and concentrate—the caffeine content is the coffee is something that we should dig into with some consideration.
So we talked to Dr Vivek Jha, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh about the effects of coffee consumption on our health. According to him: “The issue is the excessive amount of caffeine present in coffee. Too much of it will eventually cause discomfort ranging from anxiety and heartburn to frequent urination causing dehydration and palpitation.”
Here’s what you need to know about caffeine
Caffeine, an active ingredient in coffee, is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Coffee’s caffeine content is highly variable, ranging from 50 to over 400 mg per cup. Now, depending on how much coffee we consume in a day, the symptoms of excess intake will manifest.
According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults. That is roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola, or 2 ‘energy’ drinks.
Dr Vivek is of the view that moderation is the key when it comes to coffee consumption, recommending that you don’t exceed 3 to 4 cups a day.
Here’s what too much coffee can do
Besides, general restlessness, coffee will also interfere with your sleep. Even small amounts of sleep loss can add up and disturb your daytime alertness and performance. Be mindful that consuming coffee to ward off sleep deprivation can create an unwelcome and vicious cycle. For example, you may drink coffee to stay alert during the day, but the caffeine keeps you from falling asleep at night, shortening the length of time you sleep.
Therefore it is important to curb the habit of excess coffee intake gradually. Because even an abrupt decrease in your caffeine intake can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability and difficulty focusing on tasks.
This is how you can reduce your coffee consumption
To tackle your caffeine habit, try monitoring how much caffeine you are getting from foods and beverages—including energy drinks. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day. This will help your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and lessen potential withdrawal effects.
You can also go decaf. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same as their caffeinated counterparts. Dr Vivek further suggests replacing regular coffee with green coffee. It’s only recently gained popularity as more people have discovered its benefits.
Green coffee is nothing but the beans of coffee which haven’t been roasted. It contains chlorogenic acid which can be beneficial for people who are struggling with weight loss and diabetes.
So, optimising your intake of coffee to 3 to 4 cups a day is what we are looking at to truly enjoy its benefits and, at the same time, avoid any risks associated with excess consumption.