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Published on June 9, 2021

Is Caffeine Bad For You (And How Much Caffeine Is Too Much)?

Is Caffeine Bad For You (And How Much Caffeine Is Too Much)?
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Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, and other items and products. When taken, it stimulates the brain and nervous system, helping you stay active. People take caffeine for various reasons. Most people love to take it because of its natural and unique flavor and taste. Students and shift workers take it to remain active during study or work.

While moderate consumption is good, too much may be harmful. So, how is caffeine bad for you? How much is too much, and what are the side effects of taking coffee?

What Exactly Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a drug, but it exists in the natural form in coffee beans, tea leaves, and other things. People drink it to keep them active, enjoy the taste and flavor, and avoid tiredness. At least 80% of the population of the world consumes caffeine each day from different sources.[1] That’s why products with caffeine have a massive global market with plenty of demand.

Caffeine leaves the stomach for the small intestines and into the bloodstream. Its effect in the body begins only 15 minutes after taking it. It also blocks adenosine, a brain chemical that induces sleep. The impact of the blockage restricts blood vessels.

Caffeine also triggers adrenaline that increases heart rate and blood pressure. This causes the body to go into an active and alert mode that keeps you energetic. The effects don’t last because, fortunately, it fades away after a few hours.

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Sources

Caffeine is not only associated with coffee and tea, but it’s also present in other items. For example, dark chocolate contains 86mg or 22% UL of caffeine per 100g. The cocoa powder contains 198 mg per cup. Sodas also have a considerable amount inside of them. In every 16oz bottle of soda, you will find at least 49mg or 12% UL caffeine.[2]

Energy drinks like red bull, monster, and rockstar are trendy around the world. They also contain a massive amount of caffeine consumers should take note of. Every 8oz of most energy drink brands contains nothing less than 91mg or 23% UL.

How Much Caffeine Is Right for You?

How much caffeine is too much? Well, it depends. According to the U.S Food and Drugs Administration, 400 milligrams a day is okay for adults.[3] That’s about four to five cups of coffee within 24 hours. Anything above this number is dangerous and hazardous for you. But then, people respond to caffeine based on their body system. That’s why everyone needs to study their bodies to know the correct number for them.

Health Benefits of Caffeine

When taken in moderation, caffeine has plenty of health benefits. It can help boost physical performance and promote better productivity. By reducing the desire for food consumption, caffeine also provides support for losing weight. There is the aspect of thermogenesis where the body produces more heat to digest food and burn fat. Most products with thermogenesis in the label contain caffeine.

People who are into sports will also benefit from drinking caffeine. It contains polyphenol antioxidants. This compound opens neural pathways in the brain to improve innovative thinking. The liver and colon find caffeine helpful when it increases glutathione. More glutathione also increases detoxification of the liver and promotes better health.

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Caffeine may also protect people from eye conditions like blepharospasm and cataracts. There are suggestions that it may help protect against skin, mouth, and throat cancers. Caffeine is good for your skin because it contains collagen-boosting Caffeic acid. Caffeic acid also has antimicrobial properties that help to fight germs and diseases.

Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine

Is caffeine bad for you? How much should you take? What are the side effects of taking excess? Irresponsible consumption will lead to side effects. Some people have fallen sick while others have developed severe medical problems. One of the biggest concerns with caffeine is the increase in blood pressure.

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, taking too much of it can put you at risk. Too much caffeine can also interfere with some hormones that keep arteries widened.[4] The blood pressure will take effect and last for three hours. After that, it begins to subside, and you’ll get yourself back. If you notice your blood pressure increasing while drinking coffee, reduce your intake or stop it. You may also see the doctor for clarification to understand how coffee affects you.

Some people also experience stomach irritation and discomfort after taking food with caffeine. That’s because caffeine stimulates the gastrointestinal tract in some people. Too much of it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and significant stomach cramping. People who experience stomach issues after taking caffeine need to stop. If they take small quantities and feel fine, they may stick to that.

There is also the problem of coffee or caffeine leading to weight gain. Caffeine helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism. But too much of it can cause weight gain when it affects sleep. People who can’t sleep will watch TV and binge eat. They also have less energy for exercise, and all that contributes to weight gain. Drinking coffee at bars may also lead to weight gain. That’s because many of these bars prepare coffee with sugars and added calories. When taking too much, the result may be weight gain.

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Caffeine acts as an enzyme that stimulates heart intensity and contraction, but too much consumption can also affect the heart by increasing blood pressure. Consuming plenty of it from energy drinks may lead to a faster heartbeat. This causes atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. If not treated on time, the problem can lead to serious heart issues that may be fatal.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. Apart from high blood pressure, it can also increase stroke. Young people should be careful when taking energy drinks. The caffeine inside is lethal, so you need to consume it in moderation and with care.

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine has a limited effect on dopamine, the chemical that causes addiction to substances. But still, people have found themselves drinking more coffee daily than they should. Many of them can’t stop or reduce the habit, so they can be said to be addicted to caffeine or coffee. When caffeine becomes an addiction, the individual acquires physical dependence.

How to Know if You’re Addicted

You can detect addiction through withdrawal symptoms. Most people experience certain discomforts 12 to 24 hours after taking caffeine. One of the symptoms of caffeine addiction is headaches. Taking caffeine narrows the blood vessels. When you stop taking it, blood starts rushing again into your system. This can lead to severe headaches.

Caffeine boosts your energy and makes you come alive. When you stop taking it, your body will notice it and crave it. If your body can’t find additional supplies for hours, it becomes tired. Extreme fatigue after a long time of not taking caffeine is a symptom of addiction. Some people also feel heightened anxiety when they stop taking it for a long time. Depressed mood, irritability, and tremors are also related to withdrawal.

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How to Overcome Addiction

You can overcome caffeine addiction by taking responsibility. People who’re exposed to health issues need to take this more seriously and make changes fast. Don’t stop caffeine at once. Start by reducing the amount you consume. Reduce consumption by one cup every week and see how you progress.[5] If you take coffee from a particular bar in the morning, find an alternative route to work. Limit the temptation by avoiding your favorite coffee shop.

If you prepare coffee at home, once the last supply is finished, don’t buy more. Some people break their addiction by opting for caffeine-free herbal tea. You get better by the day and improve your resistance against your addiction.

Tips for Safe Consumption

To live a healthy life, one must take responsibility. That includes taking the right amount of caffeine and avoiding addiction. You also need to take it so that it benefits your health and not the other way round.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Avoid taking too much caffeine.
  • Pay attention to how many cups of coffee you should drink in a day and stick to it.
  • Avoid loading your coffee with sugar because it may lead to weight gain.
  • Caffeine taken after 2 pm will affect your sleep cycle.
  • If you’re a coffee-lover, try to add cinnamon once in a while for extra health benefits.
  • If you feel you’re taking too much, don’t be afraid to cut back.

Take charge of your caffeine habit and stay healthy.

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Summary

Caffeine is a drug that occurs naturally and offers both good and bad. Too much of it is bad for your body, heart, liver, and skin. You need to consider its side effects and benefits before it starts to affect you. If you’re addicted, learn to fight back and regain your health. Caffeine is good for you but only in moderation.

More About Caffeine

Featured photo credit: Jessica Lewis via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] ScienceDirect: Chapter 30 – Caffeine: An Evaluation of the Safety Database
[2] Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source
[3] U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
[4] MedlinePlus: Caffeine
[5] Johns Hopkins University: Caffeine use disorder: It’s real, and it warrants more attention

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Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps people make lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals.

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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals

17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals
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Weeknights are wild. There are hobby meetings, sports events, date nights, late-night work calls, kids’ bath time, TV show premiers (of course), and there’s also… dinner?

Trying to cram in making a recipe, eating dinner (let alone enjoying the meal) and cleaning the kitchen in under an hour always seemed like it would take some sort of divine intervention. Well, let me introduce you to the power pressure cooker, aka the game changer.

The power pressure cooker makes the impossible possible. You can create a healthy, balanced meal in under an hour from start to finish. Even decadent dishes such as braised short ribs or whole meals such as salmon with potatoes and broccoli can be enjoyed from start to finish with breeze on a weeknight.

Is there anything easier than throwing your whole meal in one pot and letting the pot do the work? I can’t think of anything. It’s as if you significantly upgraded the already kitchen staple, the crockpot.

Here are some of my favorite power pressure cooker recipes to get dinner on the table under pressure:

1. Ramen Soup

    For those nights when all you need is a big hug, ramen is the perfect dish! High in anti-inflammatory ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic and spinach this 20-minute soup is good for you in every which way.

    This quick ramen is balanced with lean protein from the chicken and soft-boiled eggs, starches from the noodles, and a salty broth that makes you crave more!

    To bump this recipe up even more nutritionally, try doubling the carrot and spinach for extra vitamin power.

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. 4-minute Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes

      What is better than a perfectly balanced meal in just 4 minutes? I can’t think of anything!

      This wonderfully fatty fish blends so well with the super food broccoli and starch of the potatoes that you won’t believe it was done in such a short amount of time!

      Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (aka fish oil) that helps our heart, skin, joints, GI tract, and much more!

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Beef Gyros

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        A warm pita wrapped around freshly made gyros, toppings, and even Tzatziki sauce, oh my! This recipe goes from fridge to plate in under an hour with only 15 minutes of prep time!

        When creating the Tzatziki sauce, be sure to grab plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is naturally higher in protein, adding another nutritional benefit to this great dish! You can also opt for a whole wheat pita to add some extra fiber too!

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Shrimp Boil

          This recipe is perfect for summer beach nights, a classic shrimp boil recipe that you don’t have to spend all day preparing! This recipe is fun finger food to the max! It is delicious, satisfying and tastes the best when served on a picnic table.

          To take this recipe to the next level, adjust the proportions of veggies to protein. By increasing the corn and decreasing the amount of Andouille sausage, you can decrease the total sodium and calories while increasing the fiber and vitamins!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Mexican Quinoa

            The perfect one pot meal with fiber, protein, and lots of flavor! This is a vegetarian and meat-lover dream!

            Quinoa is the perfect substitution for white rice in this classic recipe while complimenting the beans to create a protein filled dish. Plus the addition of all those vegetables creates a meal that is bursting with flavor. Top this Mexican quinoa with fresh avocado to perfectly round it out.

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            6. Lo Mein

              This Lo Mein will stomp any greasy, take-out craving you have without the usual guilt! It is not very often, you can replace a sinful bowl of take-out with something so delicious and easy to make at home!

              Make this Lo Mein in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That’s faster than it takes for the delivery person to show up at the door!

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              7. Whole “Rotisserie” Chicken

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                Everyone knows that the secret to batch cooking is to have a whole chicken cooked to use in various ways throughout the week!

                This recipe makes the most perfectly moist rotisserie chicken that can be used as is, for tacos, for soup, and for sandwiches all week long!

                Tip: keep the bones and scraps to make an amazing chicken stock to have on hand! Cooking the stock longer and at a lower temperature will create a delicious bone broth rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                8. Chicken and Lentil Soup

                  This is the coziest soup around! Rich in protein, fiber, and B vitamins, this soup will meet all your cravings!

                  It also couldn’t be easier for a rushed weekday meal, all you have to do is chop and let your power pressure cooker do the work!

                  In just 30 minutes, you will have a warming soup that the whole family can enjoy!

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Vegan Quinoa Burrito Bowls

                    Is there anyone out there that doesn’t enjoy a good burrito bowl? This veggie bowl is the perfect one-pot meal that is easily customizable!

                    From vegans to meat-lovers, everyone will enjoy this easy, fiber-rich bowl. Add whatever toppings you please to create a burrito bowl that is just as good as a restaurant’s!

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Rice and Beans

                      The classic rice and beans dish is a staple for many reasons. It is full of perfectly complimented proteins, great texture, and balanced seasonings. Now, you can create this filling balanced meal in under an hour! No more pre-soaking those beans!

                      This perfectly seasoned, filling balanced meal will have everyone fighting for another bowl!

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                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Summer Quinoa Salad

                        Your fresh in-season berries were made for this quick salad!

                        Take this nutrient dense salad to a party or serve it as light, summer dinner to have everyone asking for the recipe!

                        The quinoa, fruit, vegetables, and nuts create a dish that is perfectly balanced with all the food groups. You can top this salad with cooked chicken breast or leave it as-is to meet everyone needs!

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          This Minestrone Soup is quick and veggie full making it perfect for any weeknight dinner! It is rich in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin A making it the perfect dinner for the whole family!

                          Tip: Use whole grain noodles to increase the fiber and B vitamins of this tasty dish!

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Lemon Garlic Chicken

                            Make your protein and side dish at the same time with flavorful chicken that the whole family will love! In less than an hour, you can have a beautiful and balanced plate with veggies and protein.

                            This flavorful lemon garlic chicken will give you the protein and excitement to spice up any plate!

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Chicken Fajitas

                              Quick, easy and very few dirty dishes are used to create these fajitas that will rival even your favorite Mexican restaurant!

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                              Feel free to top these with whatever you wish but be sure to include fresh avocado for a bump-up in vitamins and minerals.

                              Tip: If you enjoy sour cream on your fajitas, opt for plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein, lower in calories, and just as tasty!

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Coconut Chicken Curry

                                A big bowl of coconut chicken curry over rice is what dreams are made of! This bright, flavorful dish is full of vegetables and lean protein without the dryness!

                                What can usually take a few hours, create this colorful dish in just 30 minutes with your power pressure cooker!

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cashew Chicken

                                  This take-out classic can be on your plate in just 20-minutes but you can pretend you took hours to create it when everyone asks for the recipe! You can double the green bell pepper to increase the veggies without sacrificing any flavor. Serve this classic over brown rice for extra fiber and minerals.

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Meatloaf

                                    Meatloaf has been a menu staple since sliced bread but never did it only take 20 minutes to make! This recipe includes the meatloaf and the sides to create a one-pot dream. Perfect to serve after long weekdays, this dish is a comforting staple.

                                    And don’t be fooled by the short cooking time, this meatloaf is the best of both worlds- it’s juicy and fast to make!

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    Despite its apparent roots in the crockpot concept, power pressure cooker meals are apt to be much healthier. Without the need for fatty sauces to create flavor and prevent dryness, the power pressure cooker uses the heat generated by the water to cook the food. This leads to more flavor without dryness and overall leaner meals.

                                    The power pressure cooker is the answer for anyone striving for healthy, balanced meals with a crazy weeknight schedule.

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                                    It really can do it all. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll feel great after enjoying healthy, balanced meals while easily juggling all the activities you enjoy!

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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