Caffeine, glorious caffeine!

A lot of people think that coffee is bad for you. Hooray for the caffeine junkies of the world — that’s a myth! Here is (I believe) where the myth spawned from:

A lot of coffee drinkers are also cigarette smokers. In many of the early research studies on caffeine, the scientists failed to isolate the two variables. The results came out looking like coffee was terrible for you and correlated with premature death, not to mention an array of health problems. More recently, studies have been done that indicate positive benefits of caffeine. Consuming moderate amounts of caffeine has been shown to result in:

*Lowered risk of developing certain cancers (breast, endometrial, aggressive prostate)

*Lowered risk of developing kidney stones

*Lowered chance of developing gallstones

*Lowered risk of type two diabetes

*Fewer suicides, because caffeine acts as a mild anti-depressant

*Speedier muscle recovery after workouts, if taken at the same time as carbohydrates. This happens because caffeine increases the amount of glucose taken up by muscles.

BUT BEWARE! The disease-fighting properties mentioned above are associated only with crude caffeine, meaning caffeine that is naturally occurring, from plants. In short, coffee & tea good; energy drink bad.

Other uses of caffeine:

*Increases athletic performance

*Eases menstrual cramps

These two things occur because caffeine is a smooth muscle relaxant and a coarse muscle stimulant. Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles that cause things like cramping. Coarse muscles are all the voluntary muscles of the body. So caffeine eases involuntary twitches and cramps, while improving reaction time, speed, agility, etc.

Other good news: Caffeine does not stunt your growth! In studies done on growing adolescents, there was no change in bone mass, density, or growth patterns, between the caffeine group and the control group.

All this being said, caffeine is definitely an addictive substance, and when taken in large quantities can cause things like nervousness, sweating, shaking, and insomnia. However, the current research indicates that when consumed in moderation (three cups or less per day), crude caffeine is excellent for your health! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Smoothie (adapted from runner’s world.com)

Iced coffee

Coffee ice cubes

Vanilla yogurt for thicker texture or soy milk for thinner texture

1 banana

Cocoa powder

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