Are you drinking too much coffee?

Written on Friday, November 6, 2015
By Shri K.K. Bajaj - Chairman Bajaj Capital Ltd.

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A cup of coffee commits you to forty years of friendship. Coffee indeed has a great bonding quality. But, this bonding can turn into bondage if you exceed the limits. As familiarity breeds contempt, so do too many cups of coffee lead to most unwelcome consequences. Before you try the coffee approach to win or make friends, it is desirable that you first acquaint yourself with all that coffee can do to your body system.


Coffee is even more injurious to health than tea. It is a more stimulating beverage than tea, as it contains greater amount of active alkaloid, caffeine etc. This alkaloid is habit looming and can be fatal to both man and animal. Sir Robert Hutchinson, an eminent nutritionist, found about 100 mg of caffeine and 200mg of tanm in a cupful of coffee made by infusing 60g. in 450 ml of water.


Coffee contains Caffeine in maximum percentage.


Caffeine has been classified as a dangerous drug. Its presence in coffee leads to artificial stimulation and jerks up the entire system temporarily and later leads to lethargy and even depression. A person, who is addicted to Caffeine, is compelled to take more and more cups of coffee in order to keep his spirits high. The addiction to coffee is akin to addiction to liquor which later on makes its regular users, its slaves.


Excess of coffee instantly increases Blood Pressure


An average person’s daily caffeine intake should not exceed 300 mg-that’s about one cup of coffee a day.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pregnant women and nursing women should limit the caffeine intake to 100 mg, as caffeine can make a baby wakeful and agitated.  Children, too, should limit caffeine intake to 100mg a day as it can make them hyperactive.  People suffering from high BP should avoid coffee as it immediately increases their blood pressure. 


Excess of coffee increases nervous stimulation 


When a person takes coffee, stimulation occurs before the coffee could be digested or absorbed.  The person will experience more rapid flow of thoughts.  Drowsiness and fatigue will appear to be overcome. But after sometime, under the influence of caffeine, thoughts start following one another so rapidly that attention and focus is lost, concentration becomes difficult and one is tempted to take another cup of coffee. Those who use coffee regularly complain of nervousness, sleeplessness, tremors and especially headache, which is relieved only by another cup of coffee.


Caffeine containing beverages can lead to stomach ulcers - Dr. Andrews C. Ivy


Caffeine disturbs the central nervous system. It is found in many beverages, including coffee, tea, and colas. Peptic ulcer is high on the list of fatal chronic diseases.  Dr. Andrew C. Ivy, professor of physiology at the University of Chicago, has done extensive research of ulcer patients. One of his recent findings is that caffeine-containing beverages, specially coffee, is dangerous to ulcer-susceptible patients. Excess of coffee whips up the heart and increases its work. 


Caffeine, like alcohol, develops the psychological craving and addiction


Abstinence syndrome can begin within 18 hours of last dose. This can bring on symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, lethargy, muscle tension, headache, constipation, and inability to think clearly. To overcome this feeling one is compelled to take coffee regularly and excess of it leads to damaging effects to the body and mind.


Coffee is not linked to alertness


The work, presented to the British Nutrition Foundation confers that only people who have avoided caffeine for a while will get a buzz from caffeine.  Bristol researchers, who carried out a review of previous studies into the effects of caffeine, say that all the drink does is to counteract the mild caffeine withdrawal symptoms people are experiencing because they have gone without the stimulant overnight.  And they found that those who drank a caffeinated drink first thing were no more alert than those who never consumed one.


Excess of coffee disturbs the heart rhythm-Dr. Mc Mahon


The study published in an issue of Epidemiology, found that excess of coffee intake may trigger heart attack.  The effect could be because of the transient effect coffee has on blood pressure and subsequent release of catecholamines in blood plasma.  2-3 cups of coffee increase systolic blood pressure by 3-14 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2-13 mm Hg in people who do not have a blood pressure problem.


A cup taken an hour before going to bed can be enough to trigger insomnia and disturbed sleep


Drinking coffee with meals is known to inhibit the absorption of iron and calcium from food.  Caffeine also has a diuretic effect and just one cup of coffee before exercise is likely to trigger unwanted fluid loss.  Within half an hour of drinking one or two cups, the flow of blood to the brain is reduced by 10% to 20%.  It is a very common complaint that after taking coffee even few hours before sleeping, one cannot sleep properly and starts feeling restless.


Excess of coffee makes diabetes worse - BBC health news


“Caffeine may interfere with the way the body deals with blood sugars, worsening Type 2 diabetes, US scientists suggest”. Duke University Medical Center researchers found a strong link between caffeine intake at meal times and higher blood glucose and insulin levels. Without enough insulin, the body cannot move blood sugar into the cells. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream and causes health problems.


Caffeine and Osteoporosis (Calcium loss)


From the Journal of American Medical Association “There was a significant association between drinking more caffeinated coffee and decreasing bone mineral density at both the hip and the spine, independent of age, obesity, years since menopause, and the use of tobacco, estrogen, alcohol, and calcium supplements in women.”


Excess of coffee elevates Stress Hormones


New England Journal of Medicine Caffeine in coffee elevates stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and norepinephrine.  These hormones are responsible for increased heart rate and blood pressure, and a sense of “emergency alert”. Circulation of oxygen to the brain and extremities is decreased and the immune system is suppressed.


Excess of caffeine drives up stress levels


Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day makes the body act as if it is under constant stress.  Caffeine can increase blood pressure significantly, leading to an increased risk of long-term heart disease, says a US report. A study of 72 regular coffee drinkers by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center found that they produced high levels of adrenalin and non-adrenalin hormones.


Excess of coffee increases Serum Cholesterol Levels


According to American Journal of Epidemiology Lipid metabolism is an important factor in weight loss, and drinking coffee is linked to higher levels of serum cholesterol, with particularly high levels noted in people who drink boiled coffee or coffee processed at high temperatures (which includes espress and espresso drinks). Other forms of coffee including decaffeinated coffee have also been shown to increase serum cholesterol levels.


In spite of its harmful effects, coffee has become a social drink - a necessary evil


Coffee should not be taken when it is very hot and it should not be gulped.  It should not be taken along with any allopathic medicine. It can be dangerously, Homeopaths warn strictly that coffee is restricted till the time their medicine is being taken.  If one takes a glass of water before taking a cup of coffee, it reduces the adverse effects.  The timing can also be important. Coffee’s stimulation is generally more welcome in the morning than late at night, when it tends to disturb sleep. 


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