by Jade Jehle, Creative Director & Blogger

“Have you been to that new coffee shop on St-Laurent? Organic and vegan options, we have to go asap!” (the almost-vegan in me screams “YES!”, while the caffeinophile in me is just as excited) – one of the many text messages I’ve received over the past months, as coffee shops are a growing trend with more and more to offer as competition evolves on every street corner.

Nowadays, it’s all about coffee dates, whether with friends or with prospects, crushes, siblings, family. Some of us are quite obsessed with this comforting beverage, are you? But, what’s really the consequence of all this caffeine, on your body and your mind?

It’s a mundane part of your routine, but it’s also the most common mood-altering drug in the world. Of course, on the bright side, caffeine will enhance your memory, improve your concentration and is likely to boost your workouts by not only burning fat quicker, but also giving you that extra energy.

Caffeine narrows the blood vessels surrounding your brain, and when you stop taking caffeine, these vessels expand again, potentially causing pain. That’s exactly why many of us have a discomfort or simply can’t drink coffee at all!

Important facts for you:

  • Healthy daily caffeine consumption is 400 mg (equivalent of approx. 2 coffee cups). Four coffee cups a day is usually the amount that leads to heart palpitations and all other unwanted side-effects mentioned in the next bullet point – make sure this doesn’t become your case!
  • Don’t force it if it doesn’t suit you: feeling jittery, an upset stomach or headaches are signs to stop and find other helpful energy sources such as oranges, berries or any vitamin-packed food or beverage you enjoy.
  • Long lasting effect: it actually takes around 45 minutes for the absorption into your blood and tissues, and anywhere between 4 and 12 hours to be eliminated from your body! Also note that a women on contraceptive pills can take an extra 4 hours for this.
  • Caffeine withdrawal has been officially named a mental health condition (as per the latest version of the psychology literature “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5), the main and basic reference for all diagnostics in psychology). Symptoms include: throbbing or constant headache, irritability, fatigue, a depressive state of mind and concentration issues. When any of these become regular and/or interfere with your everyday abilities, it may be a real condition to consult about.

Why so grumpy?

“The reason people who regularly drink caffeine wake up feeling groggy, confused or with a headache is that they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from yesterday’s coffee. These withdrawal symptoms are relieved when they get their morning fix of caffeine.”  – James Lane, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

Now I can better understand my morning attitude; don’t even think of talking to me before my first coffee! For your own safety… 😉

References:

10 Interesting Facts About Caffeine, Octobre 2016. Cari Nierenberg, http://www.livescience.com/56603-interesting-facts-about-caffeine.html

Caffeine and Headaches, Septembre 2015. Jennifer Robinson, MD, http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-caffeine#1