The Athletic Benefits of Caffeine
Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world today. It is consumed by millions of people every day and it’s not just athletes who use it. It helps with many things, but there are some negative side effects which need to be considered when using caffeine. One of these side effects is increased heart rate and blood pressure, so if you have any history of high blood pressure or heart disease then avoid drinking coffee altogether!
The other side effect of caffeine is insomnia. If you suffer from sleep problems then don’t drink coffee either!
Coffee contains chemicals called chlorogenic acids which cause insomnia, so avoid drinking caffeinated drinks at night.
Another possible problem with caffeine is weight gain. Some studies show that consuming large amounts of caffeine may lead to weight gain, but others say that the opposite might happen: caffeine could actually help prevent obesity (1).
There is no conclusive evidence yet on whether caffeine causes weight gain or not.
There are also several health risks associated with caffeine consumption. These include cancer, stroke, diabetes, liver damage and even death (2).
So far all the research shows that coffee does not increase your risk of developing any of these diseases. However, it is still best to limit your intake of caffeine because it increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
So should you consume caffeinated drinks or not?
As long as you don’t have any pre-existing health conditions then a couple of coffees a day will be just fine. If you do have a health condition, then it is best to avoid drinking coffee altogether. And remember, these health risks also apply to other caffeinated products like tea, soda and chocolate too!
If you do decide to drink coffee, try to stick to one cup a day. Having more than this can start to have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system.
Another thing you can do is consume coffee before you work out. Studies have shown that supplementing your exercise routine with caffeine can be beneficial (3). However, any additional caffeine you consume will just add to the total amount of caffeine in your bloodstream. This means that if you drink more than one cup of coffee a day, then it’s best to not consume any additional caffeine within three to four hours before you plan to go to bed.
Of course there are other options besides coffee. You could try energy drinks, which are very similar but contain much higher amounts of caffeine per serving.
These drinks also come in a variety of different flavors and are equally as popular as coffee. Alternatively, you can also try energy shots which are very small servings of energy drinks that are packaged in small containers. You only need to consume one or two of these before you feel their effects!
No matter which caffeinated product you choose, it’s important to be aware of how much caffeine you are consuming and how often. As long as you remember to do this then coffee, and other caffeinated drinks can be a great way to supplement your energy and exercise routine!
(1) Caffeine and Weight Loss
(2) Potential Adverse Health Effects
(3) The effects of caffeine ingestion on endurance performance
Written by Olivia Soluri
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Sources & references used in this article:
- What should we do about habitual caffeine use in athletes? (C Pickering, J Kiely – Sports Medicine, 2019 – Springer)
- The effects of caffeine on athletic agility (AJ Lorino, LK Lloyd, SH Crixell… – Journal of Strength and …, 2006 – search.proquest.com)
- Caffeine and sports performance (LM Burke – Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 2008 – NRC Research Press)