The Benefits That You Didn’t Know About Caffeine

Ross Quade | Health | 8 Sep, 2015 | No Comments

Coffee drinkers

As any college student will tell you, caffeine can work wonders on your ability to wake up after just a few short hours of sleep or help you get through late night cramming sessions, but that is not the only benefit of caffeine. Aside from giving you the jolt of energy needed to get through the day whether first thing in the morning or throughout the day, caffeine offers a wide number of other benefits, many of which may be surprising to you.

Enhanced Exercise

The scientific studies regarding exercise performance and caffeine consumption are ongoing and often debated. The most recent findings, however, state that small amounts of caffeine can in fact improve athletic endurance in the short term. It helps the athlete work harder and possibly exercise longer. This is due to the effect the caffeine has on the muscles. Caffeine directs the muscle to use fat as its energy source rather than glycogen, which is a carbohydrate that burns much faster than fat. As fat is burned, energy is boosted and endurance becomes much longer, enabling a person to exercise more. In addition, caffeine helps to enhance focus and determination, which helps to further the benefits of long periods of exercise as oftentimes people exercising have a hard time staying motivated or focused, forcing them to give up before their body is ready to give up. In order to gain these benefits, however, the proper amount of caffeine must be consumed. The average suggested amount ranges from 225 mg to 600 mg of caffeine right before exercising, which is the amount in 1 to 3 medium cups of coffee.

Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies are ongoing regarding the ability of caffeine to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but so far the findings have been promising. The studies show that older adults, typically ages 65 and older, that drink around 3-5 cups of coffee per day and were experiencing minor memory issues had a later onset of Alzheimer’s disease than those that did not drink coffee/consume caffeine. Alzheimer’s disease is a more serious form of dementia than early memory loss that can cause not only memory issues, but also violent mood swings and/or outbreaks. The hypothesized reason for the delay and sometimes prevention of this form of dementia is caffeine’s ability to prohibit the production of beta-amyloid, the protein that is responsible for Alzheimer’s. This protein is something that is in every human’s brain and is needed for proper functioning throughout their life, however, as a person ages, the protein does not get metabolized as it once did during the younger years, which causes an accumulation of the protein in the brain. This accumulation is not handled well by the brain, which results in a malfunction in the brain known as Alzheimer’s disease. Proponents of caffeine’s benefits encourage the elderly to continue or even start to drink coffee during their golden years to help prevent memory loss and the onset of this debilitating disease.

Decrease Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disease that occurs in the brain, causing tremors and difficulty with mobility. It typically shows signs in people over the age of 50, and is a result of damaged nerve cells in the brain that control dopamine. The result is difficulty with using a person’s muscles appropriately. The consumption of adequate amount of caffeine, typically at least 3 cups of coffee a day, has been shown to decrease the symptoms in people that currently have Parkinson’s disease as well as decrease the likelihood of certain people getting the disease at all. The studies conducted on Parkinson’s disease and caffeine show that caffeine blocks the brains signal that is responsible for Parkinson’s disease. While caffeine cannot be used as the only treatment for this disease, it can be used to help prevent the symptoms from being bothersome during the day or even help to eliminate the onset of the disease altogether.

Reduce the Risk of Oral Cancer

Studies are ongoing regarding the effects of consuming caffeinated coffee and oral cancer. A study performed by the American Cancer Society that started in 1982 and carried on for 26 years followed the habits of 968,000 people to determine their habits and whether or not they had oral cancer. The end result was a definite link between the people that drank at least 3 cups of caffeinated coffee per day and their risk of dying of oral cancer. The risk was cut in half for those that consumed at least 3 cups of caffeine per day on a regular basis for both oral and throat cancer. The study also covered tea drinkers and those that drank decaffeinated coffee, and the results were non-conclusive as far as the benefits of either of these drinks.

Be Sure to Consult Your Doctor

Caffeine has many benefits that can help a person to stay healthy. It is always recommended to talk to your doctor before consuming excessive amounts, however, as it does have downsides for people with certain pre-existing health issues. In the long run, however, studies show that caffeine can help prevent or at least minimize some very serious health conditions that can make growing old uncomfortable and difficult for those around us. Typically the caffeine consumed in coffee is the most beneficial as coffee contains other important ingredients that help a person’s health as well as does not contain harmful chemicals or additives that are found in soda and energy drinks that can decrease the benefits of drinking caffeine. As long as coffee is consumed black or with very little cream/sugar, the health benefits can greatly outweigh the disadvantages, helping a person obtain optimal health as they age.

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