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These 10 Facts About Coffee Will Blow Your Mind

These 10 Facts About Coffee Will Blow Your Mind

Most of us are aware of the effects that too much coffee can have. We usually drink it anyway because well, we need to be able to actually function for the first couple hours of the day. But caffeine’s even trickier than it appears. The Huffington Post shares a couple of facts you may not be aware of about coffee:

Most of us consume it every day, but how much do we really know about caffeine?

The naturally-occurring substance with a bitter taste stimulates the central nervous system, making you feel more alert. In moderate doses, it can actually offer health benefits, including boosts to memory, concentration and mental health. And coffee in particular, a major source of caffeine for Americans, has been associated with a host of body perks, including a possible decreased risk of alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.

But in excess amounts, caffeine overuse can trigger a fast heart rate, insomnia, anxiety and restlessness, among other side effects. Abruptly stopping use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal, including headaches and irritability.

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Below are 10 lesser-known facts about one of the most common drugs in the world.

Decaf isn’t the same as caffeine free.

Think switching to decaf in the afternoon means you aren’t getting any of the stimulant? Think again. One Journal of Analytical Toxicology report looked at nine different types of decaffeinated coffee and determined that all but one contained caffeine. The dose ranged from 8.6 mg to 13.9 mg. (A generic brewed cup of regular coffee typically contains between 95 and 200 mg, as a point of comparison. A 12-ounce can of Coke contains between 30 and 35 mg, according to the Mayo Clinic.)

“If someone drinks five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup or two of caffeinated coffee,” study co-author Bruce Goldberger, Ph.D., a professor and director of UF’s William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, said in a statement when the study was released. “This could be a concern for people who are advised to cut their caffeine intake, such as those with kidney disease or anxiety disorders.”

A 2007 Consumer Reports analysis looked at 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee and found that some contained more than 20 mg, Health.com reported.

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Caffeine starts working in just minutes.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for caffeine to reach its peak level in the blood (one study found increased alertness can begin in as few as 10 minutes). The body typically eliminates half of the drug in three to five hours, and the remainder can linger for eight to 14 hours. Some people, particularly those who don’t regularly consume caffeine, are more sensitive to the effects than others.

Sleep experts often recommend abstaining from caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime to avoid wakefulness at night.

But it doesn’t affect everyone the same way.

The body might process caffeine differently based on gender, race and even birth control use. New York magazine previously reported:

Women generally metabolize caffeine faster than men. Smokers process it twice as quickly as nonsmokers do. Women taking birth-control pills metabolize it at perhaps one-third the rate that women not on the Pill do. Asians may do so more slowly than people of other races. In The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug, authors Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer hypothesize that a nonsmoking Japanese man drinking his coffee with an alcoholic beverage — another slowing agent — would likely feel caffeinated “about five times longer than an Englishwoman who smoked cigarettes but did not drink or use oral contraceptives.”

Energy drinks often don’t have more caffeine than coffee.

By definition, one might reasonably think that energy drinks would pack loads of caffeine. But many popular brands actually contain considerably less than an old-fashioned cup of black coffee. An 8.4-ounce serving of Red Bull, for instance, has a relatively modest 76 to 80 mg of caffeine, compared to the 95 to 200 mg in a typical cup of coffee, the Mayo Clinic reports. What many energy drink brands frequently do have, though, is tons of sugar and hard-to-pronounce ingredients (check out our video report on the subject here). And for more on how much caffeine is in tea, soft drinks and other products, click here.

Dark roast coffees actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts.

A strong, rich flavor might seem to indicate an extra dose of caffeine, but the truth is that light roasts actually pack more of a jolt than dark roasts. The process of roasting burns off caffeine, NPR reported, meaning those looking for a less intense buzz might want to opt for the dark roast java at the coffee shop.

Caffeine can be found naturally in more than 60 plants.

It’s not just coffee beans: tea leaves, kola nuts (which flavor colas) and cocoa beans all contain caffeine. The stimulant is found naturally in the leaves, seeds and fruits of a wide variety of plants. It can also be manmade and added to products.

Not all coffee has the same amount of caffeine.

When if comes to caffeine, all coffees are not created equal. According to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, popular brands varied widely when it comes to the jolt they provided. McDonald’s, for instance, had 9.1 mg per fluid ounce, while Starbucks packed more than double that at a full 20.6 milligrams.

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The average American consumes about 200 mg of caffeine a day.

According to the FDA, 80 percent of U.S. adults consume caffeine each day, with an individual intake of 200 mg. To put that in real world terms, the average caffeine-consuming American drinks two five-ounce cups of coffee or about four sodas.

While another estimate puts the total closer to 300 mg, both numbers fall within the definition of moderate caffeine consumption, which is between 200 and 300 mg,according to the Mayo Clinic. Daily doses higher than 500 to 600 mg daily are considered heavy, and may cause problems such as insomnia, irritability and a fast heartbeat, among others.

But we’re far from being the country that consumes the most.

According to a recent BBC article, Finland takes the crown for the country with the highest caffeine consumption, with the average adult downing 400 mg each day. Worldwide, 90 percent of people use caffeine in some form, the FDA says.

You can find caffeine in more than just drinks

According to one FDA report, more than 98 percent of our caffeine intake comes from beverages. But those aren’t the only sources of caffeine: certain foods, such as chocolate (though not much: a one-ounce milk chocolate bar contains only about 5 mg of caffeine), and medications can also contain caffeine. Combining a pain reliever with caffeine can make it 40 percent more effective, the Cleveland Clinic reports, and can also help the body to absorb the medication more quickly.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Caffeine | Huffington Post

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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