Choose Coffee Wisely – Psychological Effects of Caffeine

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There is no need to explain why 80% of Americans jump start their day with the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world. Some people are not even functional without having their morning cup of coffee. And since getting enough rest has become an illusive dream, who cares about the effects of coffee on your health as long as it keeps you awake, right? Surprising as it may sound, the bad reputation of coffee has outlived itself. As a matter of fact, coffee might be one of the healthiest drinks out there!

Coffee and Caffeine
Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, has numerous physiological and psychological effects which stimulate the brain and nervous system. It is a well-known fact that the consumption of coffee contributes to increased alertness and faster reaction time. In addition, drinking coffee with milk in the morning helps your memory. Milk is an excellent source of calcium and drinking it with or without coffee will counteract this potential nutrient loss.

If improved brain activity is not enough justification for you to enjoy the most delectable drink there is, coffee was found to be beneficial for type-2 diabetes also. Intake of caffeine may increase production of digestive juices while relaxing the walls of blood vessels and airways in the lungs and increasing the force of muscular contractions and increasing heart rate.

Black coffee is a natural diet drink that may spark your metabolism in a calorie-free way. Caffeine increases your heart rate and metabolism so you burn more calories at rest. As for exercise enthusiasts, caffeine has been shown to enhance performance and is one of the most extensively researched ergogenic aids in the world. Not only does it diminish the feeling of fatigue and perceived exertion, caffeine spares muscle glycogen which promotes greater use of body fat as energy while bodies are in motion. Besides, muscles of “caffeinated bodies” can work longer before they become exhausted.

For that matter, coffee has been used for years by endurance athletes to aid in metabolizing fatty acids. Caffeine preferentially increases the body’s use of stored fat for energy, sparing both liver and muscle glycogen, a form of temporary stored sugar in the body. As a nervous-system stimulant, caffeine provides a mental boost that helps athletes through vigorous training sessions.

Of course, what goes up must come down. When caffeine wears off, fatigue sets in with a vengeance while diminishing returns on brain activity and other performance. Some so-called “caffeine addicts” report experiencing terrible headaches as an after effect of being in an “emergency-alert state”.

Coffee Danger!
Here comes the coffee danger part. The diet properties of caffeine ends as soon as you add something else to it. From milk and sugar, to syrups and cocoa, your cup of java may become a real weight loss disaster in a matter of seconds. A double chocolate chip Frappuccino blended with cream sounds awesome, but how do 740 calories and 28 grams of fat sound to your weight loss goals? Forget about all the health benefits your cup of Java is famous for if your overall goal is to slim up and stay lean. When drinking coffee, skip the specialty coffee drinks and focus on either having a cup of black java or one with just a little cream and sweetener in it. If you are a healthy individual and drink coffee in moderation, at worst, it is a harmless beverage. At best, enjoy you favorite cup of coffee as a healthy boost for the day while improving your performance in the gym!

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About Author

Elena Voropay

Elena Voropay is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Certified Nutritionist. She also holds accreditations for her knowledge in Iridology and Herbal Medicine. Elena has conducted presentations and lectured on various health, fitness and science-related topics. See my profile page for more information!

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