Many of us can’t face leaving the house without first having a cup of coffee.
Craving the stimulating effect of caffeine, some people even sink as many as three cups before lunch time. The question is, is this excessive?
In fact, at what point does coffee consumption become excessive? Would it better to stick to decaf coffee in the hope that the placebo effect will kick you into gear instead?
Here we do a little myth busting to help you decide whether you should switch to decaffeinated coffee or stick with your regular brew.
Decaffeinated Coffee: The Facts
Contrary to popular belief, decaf coffee beans are never 100% caffeine free. However, they do contain much less caffeine, and as a result the effects associated with caffeine are greatly reduced.
Many people think decaf coffee is better for you than regular, but this is not necessarily true. In the process of extracting the caffeine, harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde are often used so it is important to check what you buy carefully. ‘Naturally decaffeinated’ coffee is generally a good bet, but if you are in any doubt, ask a knowledgeable coffee supplier or contact the manufacturer directly.
The Extraordinary Effects of Caffeine
Many people drink coffee to increase their alertness and energy, but it has several other benefits that may just surprise you. It has been shown to assist with pain killing, boosting the effects of regular painkillers by up to 40%.
Many painkillers now contain caffeine for this reason. Amazingly, caffeine has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cavities and Parkinson’s disease, whose risk can be reduced by a huge 80%.
On the downside, caffeine is addictive and as a result can be subject to abuse. And since drinking coffee is such a social norm, addiction often goes unnoticed – even by the very person overdoing it. Caffeine withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, with headaches, bad moods and a lack of focus all figuring highly.
So, Which One’s Better?
It depends on your individual circumstances. If you are allergic to caffeine or have heart problems, choose decaf coffee – the small amount of caffeine that remains won’t do you any harm.
Decaf is also ideal for nighttime as it enables you to enjoy the taste of coffee without keeping you awake.
Otherwise, it’s up to you. If you enjoy the effects of caffeine, stick with regular coffee – just be careful not to overdo it. Around 2 – 4 cups a day is fine, although some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others, so need to be more careful.
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