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Surprising Ways Caffeine Has Been Slowly Harming Your Health

Surprising Ways Caffeine Has Been Slowly Harming Your Health

Are you one of those people who can’t start the day without a cup of Joe?

Caffeine is the world’s most used (and often abused) pharmacological drugs and while it does have some positive impact on focus, improving memory and detoxifying the liver, long-term exposure may be doing you more harm than good.

It’s Not Just The Coffee

This would be our main source of caffeine but with the explosion of energy drinks and general soda consumption, especially in diet form, we have exposed ourselves to too much of it and this is where problems arise. Similar to Keeping Up With The Kardashians it seems smart to start limiting our exposure to it..

Here are some of the issues that caffeine can cause with your health:

1. Caffeine Consumption May Raise Blood Pressure

This happened in people who already suffered high blood pressure and those who did not. The American Journal Of Hypertension observed that people with hypertension who were given 250mg of caffeine had elevated blood pressure for 2-3 hours after given the caffeine. This is startling because high blood pressure can lead to severe health effects and immediate problems such as dizziness.

2. Caffeine Can Cause Incontinence

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This comes from the University Of Alabama and it showed that woman who consume a lot of caffeine are 70% more likely to develop incontinence.

3. Doses Of 750mg And Over Can Produce A Reaction Similar To An Anxiety Attack

750mg is around 7 cups of coffee and might seem like a lot to you but there are many people that consume that much on a daily basis. Anxiety-like symptoms can arise in people who don’t suffer from the affliction from consuming caffeine. For those who do suffer from panic attacks and social phobias, their sensitivity to caffeine is increased.

4. Caffeine Negatively Impacts Sleep

Those who don’t regularly consume caffeine will notice greater difficulty in falling asleep than that of others. Those who do regularly consume caffeine still will experience sleep disruptions but might become use to sleeping for shorter periods of time. They get so used to the disruptions that their perception of disturbed sleep becomes harder for them to identify.

Studies show that one strong cup of coffee consumed 30-60 minutes before sleeping can cause restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, increased body movements and a decreased quality of sleep.

5. Coffee Can Cause Heartburn

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In some people, coffee has the ability to relax the sphincter muscles at the lower end of the esophagus. This allows stomach contents to “back up” into the esophagus and this is what we call heartburn. This is a painful condition that limits your ability to enjoy meals!

6. Caffeine Can Cause Rapid Heartbeat

A normal heartbeat is around 60-100 beats per minute. When it starts getting up over 100 beats per minute this is called tachycardia. Other things can contribute to this such as nicotine, stress and anxiety but caffeine is one of the main causes of it.

7. Caffeine Can Cause Indigestion

This is a pretty common occurrence for those who consume caffeine regardless of the source. An upset stomach and indigestion are usually reported from the consumption of caffeine. The condition is aggravated from consuming it on an empty stomach which most people do with coffee.

8. Caffeine Can Lead To Ulcers

Some of those ulcers you have may be from the stress of avoiding Game Of Thrones spoilers but the rest may come from coffee. Caffeine can cause the secretion of both pepsin and acid in the stomach which can agitate already existing ulcers.

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9. Caffeine Can Cause Headaches

This is probably one of the most studied aspects of caffeine. There are some benefits from smaller amounts of caffeine and occasional dosages relieving headaches, but constant intake can cause headaches and lead to migraines. The American Academy Of Neurology cites caffeine as a risk factor for chronic daily headaches.

10. Caffeine May Cause Heart Problems

Irregular heartbeats can be caused in certain individuals with exposure to caffeine. Many times, people with heart disease are told to avoid caffeine altogether but there has been conflicting information regarding this. Research from the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition does observe a reduction in caffeine being beneficial when 5 or more cups are consumed a day.

11. Caffeine Could Reduce Fertility In Women

The University Of Nevada School of Medicine has research that shows that caffeine can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant by 27%. In a world where many women are worried about fertility, knowing about your caffeine intake is essential.

12. Caffeine Aggravates Type 2 Diabetes

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Many people get a compounded problem when they get caffeine from heavily-sugared coffee or energy drinks. Type 2 diabetes can be aggravated by both caffeine and sugar intake.

Wrapping It Up

If you have been a heavy caffeine user this would be a good time to start cutting back. If you are not sure how much you are consuming here’s a quick breakdown of the caffeine content of some popular beverages:

  • Starbucks Coffee (16 fl oz): 320 mg caffeine
  • 5-hour energy (1.93 fl oz): 207 mg caffeine
  • Dunkin Donuts regular (16 fl oz) 203 mg caffeine
  • Starbucks Latte (16 fl oz): 150 mg caffeine
  • Coffee, brewed (8 fl oz): 133 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull Energy Shot (2 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Red Bull (8 fl oz): 80 mg caffeine
  • Tea (8 fl oz): 53 mg caffeine

According to studies, the best source of caffeine would be the last one, tea. I would aim for loose leaf green tea as it is lightly caffeinated and will also provide you with some helpful antioxidants and even vitamin C. One cup of green tea actually contains more vitamin C than an entire orange.

So limit that caffeine intake, it will help you in the long run and also prevent you from having to be awake through the night where the only thing on television is a Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon.

Honestly I’m not sure which is worse for your health…

Featured photo credit: Kars Alfrink via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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