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Should I or shouldn’t I drink those heavenly cups of caffeine?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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...So, enough already, give me a straight answer. Are my daily cups of tea and coffees really good for my health?
Ok, if you promise not to shout at us, we'll tell you that.

The answer is still Yes & No!

Why?
The health predictors are leaning more towards recommending, even encouraging coffee and tea consumption as they are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.

Pros & cons of drinking coffee & tea
  • Mood enhancer: At consumption levels of up to four cups of ordinary brewed coffee, consumers report an improved sense of energy, sociability and general happiness, even peppiness.
  • Endurance & alertness booster: Sleep-deprived youth depend on caffeine to help them make it through their day, make it through their exams, or even when they need to drive safely late at night. This is because caffeine improves alertness and reaction time. But at higher consumption levels the caffeine in coffee & tea may wreck sleep as it is easily absorbed into the system and the body takes almost six to eight hours to get rid of it totally. For those working out and active, caffeine increases not only their ability to workout for longer periods of times, but also perform them better.
  • Weight control: Caffeine from either source i.e tea or coffee, suppresses the appetite and may boost short term metabolic activity to burn an additional 100 calories a day.
  • Bone health:  Some research has shown that tea may help keep bones strong. Other research also shows that caffeine at high levels, (744mg and above) can potentially cause calcium and magnesium loss through urine and thereby lead to a higher risk of hip fractures.
  • Cancer: Coffee is linked to lower rates of liver and colon cancer. In a recent study conducted by the Moffitt cancer center in Florida, consuming three cups of tea a day was found to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women under the age of 50 by 37%.                                                    
  • Heart health: Tea relaxes the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Coffee on the other hand is not recommended for most patients with blood pressure, as it is a known stimulant. Over a period of time, regular coffee intake for patients with high blood pressure, can be a matter of concern. Though recent studies have shown that it is the caffeine in colas that poses a greater threat for developing heart disease then caffeine found in coffee and tea. Decaf coffee is associated with high cholesterol levels.
  • Brain health: Dr. Miia Kivipelto, an associate professor of neurology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reports that Green tea may prevent Alzheimer's disease. Coffee may have an antioxidant effect on the bloodstream by reducing vascular risk factors for dementia. Further, people who drank regular caffeinated coffee, were reported to have 30 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In a recent study people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, had a 28 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. This benefit probably comes from coffee's antioxidant properties and from the chlorogenic acid found in it
  • Urinary system health: Tea and coffee may help in the prevention of developing kidney stones, gout and gall stones.
  • For pregnant woman: Drinking more than two cups of coffee or three to four cups of tea could prove to be harmful, as it increases the risk of miscarriage by 25%.
  • Dehydration: Having a couple of cups of coffee can be counted towards ones daily fluid intake of 64 fl.oz. ( 2 ltrs) However, drinking in excess of four cups of strong coffee can lead to dehydration, as it acts like a diuretic and induces frequent visits to the rest room (That is above 575mg of caffeine a day - this could be a combination of colas, tea and coffee).
So how should we tread the line between moderate and excessive intake?
Bottom line is that drinking two cups of coffee, or three to four cups of tea a day can be safely recommended. Remember, moderation in consuming any food item is key to good health.

FYI
  • Coffee naturally contains caffeine - about 100 mg in a single cup
  • Espresso has 100 mg
  • Grande latte or cappuccino has 150 mg
  • A can of cola or diet cola has 45.6 mg
  • A single fizzy energy drink has 80 mg
  • Tea has caffeine as well, about 50 mg for black tea and 15 mg for green
  • Decaf coffee also has five milligrams of caffeine per eight oz cup

By. Kanchan Saggi, Dietitian, NutritionVista.com

Post Comments: Should I Or Shouldn't I Have Those Heavenly Cups Of Caffeine?

Related Articles: Foods That Can Uplift A Down Mood

 

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User Comments

19 October, 2010 | Janani Ram | Reply

Janani Ram Very informative, I drink about 2-3 cups of coffee a day, it is strong, coz I add very little milk and sugar to it. Sometimes when I stay in the office for longer it goes beyond 5-6 cups a day. I have put on about 4-5 kgs of weight in the last 6-8 months. Is it due to the coffee?

04 July, 2009 | jibak | Reply

jibak Greetings!
Regarding information about drinking caffeine content tea or coffee is very scientific and informative.
Thank you.
Jibak Majumdar
Navi Mumbai-India

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