Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It is also the major source of caffeine for most people in different parts of the world. The benefits of coffee are intrinsically tied to the benefits of caffeine. This is why we can’t talk about coffee, in terms of science and health, without talking about caffeine. The health impacts of coffee and caffeine have long been established. They have been widely studied, too, even as people continue to rely on the beverage for physical and mental boosts. While most of the health impacts of caffeine are positive, there are concerns about how people use it. Here, we will discuss some of the relationship between coffee and improved performance, as well as the possible health issues associated with caffeine use.
Coffee and Performance
It is important to reiterate here that the potential effects of coffee are inseparably related to caffeine. This is because caffeine is the natural stimulant that is present in coffee – the major substance that people crave when they gulp more and more cups of coffee to either stay awake or remain attentive during their productive hours. Back to the link between coffee and performance, several studies have confirmed that it can improve performance in many ways. Some of the most viable links between coffee and performance include:
Effect on Sport Performance
One of the most important things to know about caffeine is that it has an ergonomic effect. This means it improves the capacity to do work or exercise. This also means that it will improve sports performance in some ways that are within legal boundaries. It can raise adrenaline and increase blood flow to the heart and muscles. This helps an individual to work harder or perform better in sporting activities. A single cup of caffeine-rich coffee can result in increased endurance performance. This is one of the reasons the effects are most noticeable in endurance (aerobic) sports like walking, running, cycling, rowing, and others. These are based on real studies and not anecdotal evidence. A moderate amount of caffeine before or during these activities result in faster times recorded over set distances. Caffeine has also been studied for its effects on high-intensity (anaerobic) activities like weightlifting, sprinting, jump squats, and others. While there is some evidence of improvement in overall performance, the pieces of evidence are less-conclusive in these studies. This means that coffee, which contains a moderate amount of caffeine, may improve performance in some sporting activities and not others.
Coffee and Fluid Balance
Fluid balance is also linked to overall performance in daily activities. Since there are believes that coffee can affect fluid balance in the body, there is a need to set the records straight by considering real scientific studies. Many believe that coffee can lead to dehydration. Recent studies to determine the veracity of these claims show that they are not very correct. While caffeine may have a noticeable effect on fluid balance, it will take a great deal of it to cause dehydration. In fact, it has been reported that five cups of regular coffee does not cause dehydration at rest or during sporting activities. While there is certainly a mild short-term diuretic effect from caffeine, it does not outweigh the benefit of taking coffee as a source of fluid. This means that coffee intake can help to replenish fluid in the body and not cause dehydration, as some have suggested in the past. Coffee intake is considered moderate caffeine consumption. It does not, in any way, alter total body water and fluid distribution. This renders the famous advice to refrain from coffee drinking to maintain fluid balance unfounded.
Caffeine and Health
Coming to the effect of caffeine on health, there is a need to consider important findings so as to tread carefully. The first important thing to understand is that caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. This is why it can keep you alert after taking it. This is also why it is used as an ingredient in medications that treat drowsiness, headaches, and migraines. Overall, caffeine offers so many health benefits, especially when it is taken in moderation. Drinking coffee is one of the safest and easiest ways to take caffeine in moderation. By helping you stay alert,
the caffeine in coffee will boost physical and mental performance. In addition, it has been linked to a good number of health benefits. The most notable health benefits that have been confirmed by scientific studies include:
Enhancement of mood and brain function
Improved metabolism and fat burning
Protection against heart disease and diabetes
Reduced risk of liver damage
Decreased risk of premature death, especially for women and diabetic patients
Skin protection and decreased risk of cancer (skin, liver, and colorectal cancer)
Reduced risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS)
Improved gut health.
Possible Side Effects of Caffeine
While caffeine and coffee-drinking are associated with several benefits, there are possible side effects users should know about. The first important thing to know is that caffeine is habit-forming. There are people who are caffeine-dependent, and withdrawing from it can be very challenging.
Excessive caffeine intake is also linked to a number of problems, including anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and trouble sleeping. In some individuals, excessive coffee drinking can promote headaches, migraines, and high blood pressure. Caffeine is also linked to miscarriage and low birth weight when taken in excess. It can cross the placenta and affect an unborn child in different ways that are not considered healthy. Pregnant women are advised to take caffeine in moderation.
The Bottom line
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. It is a very healthy beverage and serves as a major source of caffeine for most people. Other sources of caffeine include tea, soda, and some energy drink. Most of the health benefits of coffee are linked to caffeine, which is a natural stimulant of the central nervous system. Coffee-drinking is also a safe way to moderate caffeine intake, which is the key to gaining the health benefits and preventing possible side effects. Coffee drinking should, therefore, be considered an enjoyable way to enhance performance and promote good health.