A very good question. Coffee is so commonly consumed and for a variety of reasons but we often dont' understand what it's doing in our body.
I would preface this by saying that it's very difficult to definatively state whether any effects (particularly short-term) are positive or negative. This is because it depends on the frequency and volume of coffee consumption and it also depends on what your trying to achieve. E.g. If you are wanting to sleep 2-3 cups of coffee in eveing might have a negative stimulant effect, but if your are competing in a sports event coffee can be positive for performance.
Some of the short term effects of caffiene include:
- Reduced drowsines due to the binding of caffeine to adenosine receptors
- Increase in dopamine levels, making you feel good.
- Constriction blood vessels which raises blood pressure temporarily
- Increase in the electro-physical activity of the heart making it beat faster.
- Increase in the secretion of adrenalin which stimulates the nervous system for a 'fight or flight' response
- Stimuation of gastric juices
- Stimulation of diuretic pathways leading to increased urination
- Stimulation of the intestinal muscles resulting in the desire to have a bowel movement
- Increase in the secretion of fatty acids for metabolisim (energy use)
- Increase in muscle glycogen stores post exercise.
Long term effects depend on the volume of coffee consumed. Some of the negative effects of persistant high caffiene intake may include:
- Increased risk of high blood pressure
- Increased risk of heartburn and ulcers
- Increased risk of anxiety.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dependence on caffiene
Some research indicates that there are positive effects from moderate coffee consumptioin including:
- Decreased risk of some cancers
- Decreased rish of some neurological conditions e.g. Parkinsons
I hope this is helpful and I would be very interested to hear another professional's take on the long term effects of coffe consumption.
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