To many Americans, both hard-working employees and students alike, caffeine isn’t just the best way to wake up in the morning; it’s vital to functioning throughout the day. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola — caffeine consumers aren’t picky, just as long as they get their quick fix of energy. Maybe you even started today with one of these beverages.
Over the years, caffeine has become a morning tradition – and to many, a necessity. But when was the last time you stopped to consider how your dependency on caffeinated beverages affects your health, both short-term and long-term? The next time you reach for another helping of your favorite energy-infused beverage, keep these hidden dangers of caffeine in mind.
What is caffeine?
Before we discuss the inherent dangers of caffeine, we must first understand what caffeine is (other than that chemical that wakes us up). In its most basic form, caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in coffee, tea and cacao plants.1
Short-Term Dangers of Caffeine
Just about every caffeine drinker is familiar with the short-term effects of this drug: an elevated heart rate, a rush of energy and a heightened level of focus. Unfortunately, however, caffeine isn’t beneficial in all use cases.
For instance, drinking caffeine too late in the evening can keep the consumer awake at night, resulting in decreased quality of sleep. In this case, the consumer may wake up in the morning with less energy than he/she would have received from a caffeine-free night, which in turn often causes the consumer to grab even more caffeine in order to start his/her day.
Long-Term Dangers of Caffeine
Most consumers who enjoy the daily benefits of caffeine seldom consider the effects their favorite uplifting drink has on their bodies throughout the many years of consumption; they’re just concerned about staying awake. Nevertheless, the long-term dangers of caffeine are very real:
1) Decreased Mortality in Men
Possibly the most alarming static on this list, men who down a minimum of four eight-ounce cups of coffee each day are 21% more likely to die before men who do not consume similar amounts of caffeine.2
2) Reduction in Fertility in Women
Women who consume large amounts of caffeine are 27% less likely to become pregnant than women who do not drink caffeine.2
3) Heightened Risk of Heart Attack
Young adults who drink caffeine are three to four times more likely to develop mild hypertension and even suffer from a heart attack.2
4) Increase in Anxiety and Depression
Consumers who rely on heavy amounts of caffeine are more likely to develop depression and anxiety-related conditions over time.2
5) Caffeine Overdose
While rare, consumers who ingest more caffeine than their bodies can reasonably manage have a higher risk of experiencing adverse affects, including caffeine allergies and even death.2
How to Reduce or Eliminate Your Caffeine Consumption
Considering these short-term and short-term dangers of caffeine, you may be wondering how you can reduce or even eliminate your reliance on caffeine. Since caffeine is a real, addictive substance, weaning your body off of it will take some time.
Join us on our blog next month as we explain how you can safely free yourself of caffeine dependence. Until then, consume responsibly, friends.
1 (2016 May). What is Caffeine, and is it Good or Bad For Health? Authority Nutrition. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://authoritynutrition.com/what-is-caffeine/.
2 (2017 February). 20 Harmful Effects of Caffeine. Caffeine Informer. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.caffeineinformer.com/harmful-effects-of-caffeine