In fact, it’s estimated that somewhere in the region of 90% of all human beings ingest caffeine in one form or another. In the UK and US, approximately 80% of people consume caffeine every single day.
The good news is that as far as more recent scientific studies go, evidence seems to suggest that moderate caffeine intake is perfectly safe. Not just safe, but actually beneficial. Despite having been considered a potential health hazard for some time, regular and controlled intake of caffeine is now known to be a good thing.
That said, getting carried away and overdoing it remains unwise.
So while it’s no secret that coffee gives you that instant jolt of energy when you need it most, what are the other potential effects of caffeine once it gets into your body? Or more specifically, how is it having a potentially positive impact on your health?
First of all, extensive studies have shown that caffeine intake provides a rapid mental boost that lasts for about 45 minutes. Which is why caffeine can be great when you find yourself flagging. Interestingly though, an additional study carried out at Johns Hopkins University found that memory function can be improved as long as 24 hours after the consumption of caffeine. So while the effect may be temporary in both instances, it nonetheless suggests that regular caffeine consumption could render you more cognitively capable on a permanent basis.
The current recommendation, as far as many key scientists are concerned, is to aim for a daily caffeine intake of about four or five cups of coffee. The reason being that if you do, you can apparently reduce your likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 50%. Not only this, but studies have also shown that caffeine can be beneficial for those who already suffer from Parkinson’s, assisting with a variety of associated symptoms including coordination.
While caffeine is often used to give the body a boost before and during workouts, research has highlighted benefits that go above and beyond the obvious. Along with reducing muscle pain following exercise, evidence suggests that those who consume caffeine burn on average 15% more calories during the 3 hours following exercise, than others who consumed no caffeine at all.
While the exact mechanics of the correlation remains something of a mystery, a long-term study carried out by Harvard researchers showed that caffeine can reduce diabetes risk. By tracking a group of participants over the course of four years, it turned out that those who consumed moderate amounts of caffeine on a daily basis were around 11% less likely to develop diabetes than those who did not consume caffeine.
It’s an argument coffee drinkers have been making for generations, but now we have scientific evidence to support this. While it’s not considered advisable to replace healthy sleep patterns with coffee, research suggests that moderate caffeine intake can be just about the most effective way of maintaining optimum cognitive function, during times when it isn’t possible to sleep as long or consistently as necessary. So when you do find yourself temporarily lacking in the sleep department, caffeine could very well be your best friend.
You know how it is usually not a good idea to mix any kinds of drugs whatsoever? Well, a study carried out in the United States found that when 100 mg of caffeine is combined with 200 mg of ibuprofen, the effect of the painkiller is both intensified and accelerated. In fact, the combination was singled out as one of the most effective ways of dealing with pain, using OTC medications in safe and sensible doses. As such, next time you find yourself dealing with a headache you’d rather be rid of, this is one combination you might want to try.
Last but not least, while there’s little in terms of actually putting the science into practice for the time being, there is growing evidence to suggest that caffeine can effectively stimulate the growth of human hair.
In clinical trials (which admittedly didn’t involve human subjects), caffeine showed remarkable potential as an effective treatment for thinning hair or hair loss.
Unfortunately, as things stand right now there’s no effective way of taking this science and putting it into practice. And just in case you were wondering, the answer is no…even those high-priced caffeine shampoos that have started doing the rounds as of late have returned little to no benefit whatsoever during scientific trials.
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