The Surprising Benefits of Caffeine

Caffeine has gotten some bad reputation over the years for allegedly being a harmful and addictive substance. It’s mostly taken via what most consider the most popular beverage, coffee. Caffeine has been repeatedly proven to be absolutely harmless for the majority of people, as it provides numerous physical performance and overall health benefits. It is sometimes wrongly viewed by some as some kind of vice that should be reduced or eliminated altogether from our diet.

As previously mentioned, statistics have shown that coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage. One of its main properties is that it has a potent stimulating effect. And the key compound which is responsible for lots of cases of coffee addiction is none other than caffeine.

It’s not that bad!

Caffeine’s bad reputation can be largely attributed to specific problematic issues that might arise. It is often seen as the main cause of sleep deprivation, increased anxiety, irritability, and stomach irritation. All of these symptoms, however, should be more closely examined before jumping to conclusions. The smart way of consuming caffeine can significantly improve lots of good health, mental and physical performance markers. That is unless one’s daily dose of coffee doesn’t exceed more than 5 cups or the pre-workout supplement formula is taken twice the recommended amount. Coffee consumption has been linked to decreased cancer risk, lower rates of diabetes and lower number of Parkinson’s disease cases.

Caffeine in both its isolated form or mixed in pre-workout supplements and coffee is still a potent stimulant for maximizing performance. It improves your mood, memory and makes you feel energized. Numerous studies have confirmed that people who took between 2-5 cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of experiencing cardiovascular issues. Coffee and caffeine’s stimulating effect are “vices” that a lot of people outright refuse to eliminate from their diet since they help them go through their day and simply cannot function without them.

People who are thinking of reducing their coffee intake or eliminate it completely will be happy to know that they’d be better off continuing their drinking habit. Caffeine and its many forms can really make you feel more alive, and make you feel ready to take on the hardest job, being impervious to pain, exhaustion, and depression.

Go beyond the pain

Coffee’s positive effect on physical performance and its ability to enhance one’s memory are widely known and highly revered among its countless consumers all around the world. And even more interesting and potentially surprising to a lot of people is that caffeine possesses powerful pain-killing characteristics. Nutrition scientists have discovered that just a single cup of coffee can help diminish the pain over the short term in a matter of minutes.

One study had fifty men and women put their arms into buckets filled with ice-cold water. Initially, the men could withstand the pain longer than the women. However, after taking a caffeine dose of 250mg, the women experienced improved tolerance to the cold water and could, afterward, endure the pain longer than the men, who by the way took the same amount of caffeine. Another study examined caffeine’s impact on ischemic muscle contraction pain, which is a specific and intense type of pain related to heart attacks. The participants were split into two groups. One group took 200mg of caffeine, the other took placebo.

After resting for an hour, they were instructed to raise their arms in order to drain the blood. Then, blood pressure cuffs were attached to prevent the blood from going back to the muscles. They were then instructed to do wrist curls with light weights and each participant was asked to rate how much pain they were experiencing at 20-second intervals.  The group that was taking caffeine reported significantly less pain than the participants in the other group who took a placebo.

Caffeine’s powerful analgesic properties, as mentioned previously, are mostly attributed to caffeine’s ability to block the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is in charge of carrying pain signals from the nerve endings to your brain. It also activates the adrenaline pathways which are necessary to suppress pain, which in turn stimulates your body’s natural pain-killing mechanisms.

Caffeine intake also causes major central nervous system stimulation, which makes pain signals become processed in a way in which pain suppression is achieved faster. Basically, caffeine can suppress pain by giving relief to the injured area. For lifters how often lift heavy weights, caffeine can decrease muscle soreness by decreasing inflammation levels and speed up the recovery of damaged tissues. The central nervous system is also energized with caffeine, which allows strength levels to be recovered faster after intense training sessions. The generally recommended daily dose of caffeine is usually 100mg every few hours. This dose can also prevent the development of migraines and reduce the grueling pain.

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