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Caffeine: Friend or Foe?

Caffeine is used commonly by students everywhere to get through tests and pull all-nighters. The benefits and risks of caffeine use, however, are debated among the medical community. So what do you need to know as a student in order to use caffeine in the most positive way?

First of all, what exactly is caffeine? Caffeine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that is actually classified as a psychoactive stimulant drug (it crosses into the brain and acts upon the central nervous system), resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. It is found in the beans, leaves and fruit of some plants. Caffeine temporarily stops drowsiness and stimulates alertness. In fact, it is the only psychoactive drug that is legal and unregulated across the world.

There are 80-135 mg of caffeine in a cup of percolated coffee, 115-175mg in drip coffee, 100mg in a shot of espresso, 50mg in black tea, 30mg in green tea, 34mg in 12oz of Coca-Cola, 54mg in Mountain Dew and 80mg in 8 oz. of Red Bull. It takes, however, only around 30-40 mg of caffeine to reap effects.

The benefits of caffeine are not fully known, but some research has found that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. The may also have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes. Caffeine Increases mental faculty. It raises adrenalin in your system, causing your heart rate to increase, your pupils to dilate and your muscles to tighten. It helps the body perform necessary tasks when fatigued and just gives a general boost.

Although the general healthiness of consistent caffeine intake is debatable, there are no major health risks involving caffeine. The only risk you pose on your health is the overuse of caffeine. The recommended amount of caffeine is no more than 400 mg a day. Before you jump to drinking four cans of Red Bull a day, remember that you need to be aware of serving sizes and the amount of caffeine you are actually consuming. Caffeine is also present in places you may not expect, such as chocolate. If you consume caffeine excessively, your body will begin to build up an immunity, of sorts, to the effects of caffeine. This means that your body can actually display symptoms of caffeine addiction and withdrawal, such as restlessness, irritability, anxiety, heartburn, headaches, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat and nausea.

So try to limit your caffeine intake to the amount you actually need in order to feel effects, which is 40 mg. Then, drink another 40mg amount when you need another pick-up.

vely, your body will begin to build up an immunity, of sorts, to the effects of caffeine. This means that your body can actually display symptoms of caffeine addiction and withdrawal, such as restlessness, irritability, anxiety, heartburn, headaches, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat and nausea.

 

So try to limit your caffeine intake to the amoun

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