But what causes the caffeine contained in it and can it harm us?
Caffeine is commonly considered a popular pick-me-up and is found in many drinks such as coffee, cola, tea and cocoa again. But what is so special about the substance and how does it affect our body? As consumers, we focus primarily on the invigorating and refreshing effect of the substance. Classic examples of this would be the handle for a cup of coffee in the morning, to start the day awake and fit or also the lunch coffee, in order to continue to work concentrated.
Infographic Per capita consumption of green coffee
The mystery of caffeine raises many questions and makes many a smile. For many of us, the awake-maker, however, is part of everyday life and is almost indispensable. In 2015 alone, the annual per capita consumption of green coffee in Germany was around 7 kilograms. This brings us together with countries such as Finland, Norway and Austria in the top 6 of the strongest coffee drinkers.
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Pure caffeine occurs as an odorless, white powder. The taste is quite bitter and does not really impress the senses. However, as an additive in drinks this falls in any way. Really interesting is therefore only the effect of the stimulant. How exactly does it affect our body, metabolism and brain? Furthermore, it would be interesting to know whether caffeine has health effects – does it damage our body or even convince it with healing effects?
How does caffeine affect our body?
We usually take caffeine via enjoyable drinks such as coffee or tea. Caffeine itself can be classified in the psychotropic substances. These affect the human psyche and can thus raise or lower our state of mind. As a so-called alkaloid, caffeine is found in all sorts of plants. These use the substance to fight against pests.
We find the substance among other things in the coffee bean, in cocoa fruits or in the seeds of the Guaraná tree again. However, caffeine can also be easily synthesized today. Thus, the caffeine content can be changed individually for many drinks. The amount of caffeine ultimately also determines decisively about its effect in our body.
First of all, it can be said that the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, BfR for short, does not see any health risk even with daily caffeine consumption. Crucial for this rating is a maximum consumption of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.
You must therefore always make sure that the recommended intake is not exceeded. Otherwise, various side effects could occur. A cup of coffee with 200 ml content, for example, with 80 milligrams of caffeine benefit. The limit for our coffee consumption is therefore 2-3 cups daily. Incidentally, this value is exactly in line with the trend. Around 53.2% of all Germans drank 1-3 cups of coffee a day in 2015.
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The main effects of coffee on our body can be found in a few bullet points:
- The central nervous system is stimulated
- The contraction force of the heart increases
- Pulse and blood pressure increase with irregular consumption
- Expansion of peripheral blood vessels
- The metabolism is stimulated
- An increased intestinal function
By stimulating the central nervous system, our entire body system is boosted and we are temporarily in a very alert and focused state. This effect is especially helpful if you want to overcome your morning tiredness or a lunch break. The increase in the contraction force of the heart ensures better blood circulation and gives us new strength. The expansion of the peripheral vessels supplies our muscles with more oxygen.
Therefore, athletes also rely on the effects of caffeine. Many people take it in the form of caffeine tablets or as a simple powder. The Aufpäppelnde effect starts faster and we feel fit and strong. If you drink coffee for the first time or prefer an irregular consumption, it can lead to a pulse and blood pressure increase. However, this is quite safe and has no side effects in healthy people.
If we consume caffeine, our metabolism and our intestinal function are increased. This benefits above all older people, whose body functions no longer function with the same efficiency as at a young age. So we see that caffeine, when dosed correctly, has many benefits. But what about the side effects and what should you look for when taking caffeine?