Where does Caffeine fit into a healthy diet?

According to StatsCanada after water, coffee is the most frequently consumed beverage by Canadians. With over two thirds of Canadian adults reporting to drink 1 to 4 cups per day.  Coffee is often centred out for containing caffeine, but caffeine is present in a wide variety of products including tea, energy drinks, soft drinks, food and medications. Caffeine provides no nutritional value on its own and it is tasteless making it easy to hide in other foods and drinks.

 

Caffeine causes vasoconstriction or narrowing of small arteries. This arterial constriction occurs throughout the body, however when it occurs within the brain it reduces the activity of your adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a hormone in the body that is responsible for slowing down brain activity and creating the sensation of sleepiness in the body. Because of caffeine’s impact on your adenosine receptors, when caffeine reaches your brain you begin to feel more alert. The impact of caffeine varies from person to person. The longer and more caffeine consumed, the greater the tolerance your body develops overtime. This results in a dependence on regular consumption of caffeine and withdrawal symptoms when you don’t receive that regular dose.

 

It isn’t all bad news though, regular consumption of caffeine has been shown to have positive impacts. Studies have shown that daily consumption of caffeine may reduce rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as potentially offsetting type 2 diabetes. The maximum recommend dose of caffeine is 400 milligrams daily, which is about 2 cups of coffee per day depending on the size of the cup. If you love your morning cup of coffee or tea, enjoy it but be sure watch those serving sizes.

For additional impacts of caffeine on your body, click here - https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-effects-on-body#1

Denise Boyd, BSc, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RNH) with a specialization in Cognitive and Immune Support.