Is Caffeine Friend Or Foe?

NYC NutritionistCaffeine is consumed by 90 percent of America, whether it comes in the form of coffee, soda pop, tea, energy drinks, over-the-counter capsules, cold medicines, or (to a lesser extent) chocolate. Yet, there is some controversy over whether caffeine is a good addition to a healthy diet or not.

Argument #1: Caffeine is our Friend.

  • Caffeine speeds up our rapid information processing by 10 percent, and just one cup of coffee after lunch can improve concentration levels and alertness.
  • In a French study, caffeine-consuming women showed slower declines in cognitive ability.
  • Caffeine improves immune system function and has natural anti-inflammatory effects.
  • In a 1991 study, caffeine was given to mice with depleted Dopamine levels and Parkinson’s-Disease-like symptoms. The mice given caffeine never developed the disease, while the control group did.
  • Caffeine speeds up the metabolism and improves the body’s ability to break down fats.

Argument #2: Caffeine is our Foe.

  • Some people have sensitivity to caffeine, causing them to feel anxious when they “crash.”
  • There is a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate when caffeine is consumed, so cardiovascular disease and stroke patients should take caution.
  • Consuming caffeine less than six hours before bed interferes with a person’s ability to sleep.
  • Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include headaches, fatigue, anxiety and irritability.
  • Caffeine may affect calcium absorption in older adults, which may be linked to an increased risk of hip fracture.

The Bottom Line

Moderation is the key to enjoying caffeine, and certain groups of people will find it beneficial to limit their caffeine consumption.

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Contact NYC Nutritionist, Carly Feigan at 212-706-4298 for your free 15 minute consultation.