We all love that first (or third) cup of coffee in the morning, but have you ever wondered how coffee affects you? We’ve taken a close look at what coffee does in your body and put together this list of science-backed effects.
If you love coffee as much as we do, you’ll be thrilled to hear this. According to studies, coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers! And a recent Spanish study showed that people who drank four cups a day had an amazing 64% lower chance of dying. Keep reading to learn more about how coffee affects you.
What is Caffeine and How Does It Affect You?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. When you drink it, you feel less tired and more alert. It helps you focus and can decrease headaches and migraines. Because caffeine absorbs into your bloodstream through your stomach, it takes one to two hours to reach its full effect.
If you overdo it, caffeine can also give you negative symptoms like heartburn and nausea. That’s why researchers suggest you keep your caffeine consumption under 400 milligrams per day. The average cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, so you can safely consume about four cups of caffeinated coffee every day.
How Much Coffee Do You Drink?
What effect will coffee have on your body? That depends on how much you drink. You’ll get a few benefits from drinking just a cup or two, but the optimal range, where you’ll get the most benefits and the fewest undesirable effects, is between three to five cups of coffee per day. Keep in mind that a cup of coffee is eight ounces, so if you’re drinking out of a bigger mug, you may need to do some simple math.
How does coffee do all this? The truth is, researchers aren’t completely sure. Many of the short-term effects can be attributed to caffeine, but some of the longer-term benefits, like lower mortality and chance of developing cancer, could be something called polyphenols. These are micronutrients found in plants that may have antioxidant properties.
The Bottom Line
So what’s the takeaway? Coffee is a stimulant that can make you more alert and focused, but the benefits go beyond that. If you stick to the sweet spot of three to five cups a day, you may experience positive effects like a better mood, plus a lower risk of health problems like obesity, depression, several kinds of cancer, and memory problems. You may even decrease your risk of dying!
You’ll probably want to stay under six cups of coffee, though -- after that, you may experience jitters, anxiety, caffeine withdrawal symptoms, and long-term issues like heart disease, infertility, and osteoporosis.
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