Coffee is a living essential for many of us. We not only love the aroma to wake us up, but we need that caffeine to get through our busy schedules. The good news is that drinking coffee in moderation has been linked to various health benefits. These include increasing metabolism, reducing the risk of Type-2 diabetes, and improving neurological functions. But how much is too much? And what does caffeine do to our coffee?

Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

According to American Dietary Guidelines, 400 milligrams of caffeine per day seem not to be associated with negative effects. In general, 400 milligrams of caffeine is roughly equal to 2 cups of Starbucks short-size medium roast black coffee or about 3 cups of tall-size latte. If you simply love the feelings and aroma of coffee and are not necessarily looking for the energy boost, then decaf coffee might be an option for you since a tall-size brewed decaf coffee only contains 20 milligrams of caffeine in comparison to 280 milligrams of regular coffee. 

Photo: Sorin Sirbu on Unsplash

Caffeine acts as a short-term stimulant to our central nervous system. It has been linked to decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Last year the Harvard School of Public Health did a study on coffee. The results show that the consumption of 3 to 5 cups daily could be a part of a healthy lifestyle. According to the research, caffeine works in our body by counteracting the effect of adenosine, a neuromodulator that makes us feel tired, and consequently “increases our alertness and reduces our reaction time.” 

Besides cognitive performance, the study also shows that caffeine may “improve energy balance by reducing appetite and increasing the basal metabolic rate and food-induced thermogenesis.” While the relationship between caffeine and weight loss is still under debate, some studies suggest that drinking coffee without added sugar could suppress your appetite and increase metabolism. 

Photo: Devin Avery on Unsplash

Despite the cognitive and physical benefits of caffeine, it is also worth noting that drinking caffeine later in the day might cause sleep disruption and induce anxiety, especially for sensitive persons. Therefore, you should consume an appropriate amount of coffee per day based on your tolerance level and workload. Sometimes, matcha and green tea could also be a great alternative to coffee too! 

Written by Irene Chung
Featured Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
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