15 things that happen to your body when you drink caffeine

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15 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Drink Caffeine

15 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Drink Caffeine

Some are good, some are not so good
15 things that happen to your body when you drink caffeine

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Caffeine is a stimulant that has the ability to speed up your central nervous system, increase your alertness and decrease your risk of certain diseases. After drinking your morning coffee, your afternoon tea, a pre-workout energy drink or a pop with your dinner, you may feel energized and your headache might be gone — or you might be jittery and have to visit the bathroom more than necessary.

Moderate caffeine consumption for healthy individuals is considered to be 400 mg per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is the equivalent of about three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day. 

While ingesting caffeinated drinks in moderation will help ease the negative side effects and may boost the positive ones, it’s helpful to understand what changes you might experience after sipping your second, third or fourth cup of the day.

Your heart rate increases

Your heart rate increases

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Because caffeine is a natural stimulant, you may notice an increase in your heart rate up to an hour after you ingest it. People with heart disease or irregular beating patterns like atrial fibrillation might want to avoid excessive amounts as it can cause disruptions to normal heart rhythms.

You have to urinate more

You have to urinate more

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Caffeine works as a natural diuretic, which is a substance that increases urination to rid your body of salt and water. Moderate intake of caffeinated drinks is not likely to cause dehydration from fluid loss

Your cholesterol could go up

Your cholesterol could go up

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Coffee drinkers should consider how they brew their java. The coffee bean contains cafestol, a substance that stimulates LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the “bad” cholesterol. To prevent as much cafestol getting into your cup, brew your coffee with a paper filter rather than boiling it or using a French press.

The digestive system is stimulated

The digestive system is stimulated

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Your morning cup of coffee actually has some benefits for your digestive system. A low to moderate amount of caffeinated coffee stimulates bowel movements and activates contractions in your colon to push food through your digestive tract. Even though caffeine can promote good gut health, some people may experience diarrhea or a loose stool from consuming large doses of caffeine. If you’re dealing with an upset stomach, you should look into drinking these teas.

The jitters take over

The jitters take over

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When caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, you’ll notice a boost in energy, but with that, you might also notice a jittery feeling. Your sensitivity to this side effect will decrease with the more coffee, tea or energy drinks you consume.

Anxiety could be increased

Anxiety could be increased

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If you are already prone to anxiety, caffeinated drinks may exacerbate your symptoms, according to research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. This is because symptoms of caffeine intake, such as faster heart rate and restlessness, mimic those of anxiety.

You feel alert

You feel alert

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Many of us feel we can’t function in the morning without a cup of coffee or English breakfast tea. This is because regular caffeine drinkers have become accustomed to the alertness it provides. Caffeine increases adrenaline in our body and blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in our brain. Consuming a cup of coffee while you read at night or ordering an extra-large pop at a late-night movie might not be the best choice if you’re trying to get to sleep at your normal hour.

You won’t be able to fall asleep

You won’t be able to fall asleep

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As mentioned before, sleep-inducing chemicals are blocked by caffeine, causing you to feel awake and energetic. You have several adenosine receptors in your body. When you are awake, your brain neurons produce the compound adenosine, and when the level of that compound drops later in the day, that is your brain’s signal to prepare your body for sleep. Caffeine travels to the adenosine receptors in your body and will temporarily mimic the effect of adenosine. 

Dependency could develop

Dependency could develop

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Caffeine is a drug, so it’s natural to think you might become addicted to it, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse considers it a dependency. Like other drugs, caffeine increases dopamine signals in your brain, which are what cause the feeling of being alert. Unlike other drugs, the signaling isn’t strong enough to create an imbalance that would classify something as addictive.

Your risk of disease could decrease

Your risk of disease could decrease

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Research has found a link between caffeine intake through coffee and decreased mortality rates for certain diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart attack, stroke and some cancers. This could be due to the antioxidants and other nutrients such as riboflavin, magnesium and plant chemicals that are found in the coffee bean.

Your metabolism could speed up

Your metabolism could speed up

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Caffeine can increase metabolic rate and stimulate thermogenesis, which is the production of heat through metabolic processes. Studies show that while a higher metabolic rate after caffeine ingestion was seen in regular-weight and obese participants, there was a greater oxidation of fat — energy burning — in the regular-weight participants. 

Your blood pressure could increase

Your blood pressure could increase

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Increased blood pressure is a known side effect of drinking caffeine, but what is unknown is what causes the spike. One hypothesis is that it is due to higher levels of adrenaline, while a second proposes caffeine blocks an artery-widening hormone. 

Adrenaline is increased

Adrenaline is increased

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Adrenaline is the hormone that prepares your body for rigorous exercise. Caffeine increases your levels of adrenaline and also breaks down fats in your body. Research has shown that caffeine may be more likely to increase performance for endurance activities such as running and cycling rather than resistance activities such as weight training. 

Headaches might occur

Headaches might occur

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Back to the idea of dependency, headaches and caffeine intake are two-sided. It is possible to get a headache from too much caffeine, but it is also possible to get a headache as a form of withdrawal from it. 

Pregnancies can be affected

Pregnancies can be affected

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While pregnant, you’re not just nourishing yourself, but also your growing baby. Your body may be able to handle the side effects of caffeine, such as higher blood pressure and increased heart rate. Once the caffeine makes its way through the placenta, however, your baby’s metabolism won’t know how to handle it. 

You may have to limit your caffeine intake while pregnant, but here are some of the things you should be adding to your diet to help your baby grow

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