Today

Today, I’d like to give you some of the facts about caffeine and its effects on your body. I may not cause you to change your coffee consumption, but at least you’ll be better informed about what you are putting into your body.

I’m going to talk about the beneficial effects of caffeine, the negative effects and discuss what are considered to be ‘safe’ levels of caffeine consumption.

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Let’s start with the good news. Caffeine, which comes from the leaves, seeds and fruits of about 63 different plants, is well known as a stimulant. That’s why people drink it, right?

Caffeine does help you wake up and feel more alert and it has been shown to increase attention spans. This is a beneficial effect for people who are driving long distances and for people who are doing tedious work. Calling this a health benefit may be stretching it, though staying awake while you are driving a car definitely contributes to your well-being!

Caffeine also contains antioxidants, which have been shown to have cancer prevention qualities.

The negative effects of caffeine are largely dependent on how much you consume.

When consumed in small quantities – for example, when you have one cup of coffee or one soda – caffeine can increase your heart rate, cause you to urinate more (which can cause dehydration) and prompt your digestive system to produce more acid.

In larger amounts, caffeine can cause you to have headaches, feel restless and nervous, be unable to sleep, and even – in very large quantities – to have hallucinations. (Don’t try that at home!)