Health risks, benefits from drinking too much coffee
If you rely on coffee to wake you up every morning, you’re not alone.
Sixty-two percent of Americans drink it on a daily basis, according to a survey by the National Coffee Association. If you don’t drink coffee every day, then maybe you should — especially during the stress-filled mayhem that is finals week. Coffee has plenty of health benefits, as long as you don’t overdo it.
A cup a day is a good way to keep coffee a friend and not a foe. Just one might make your breath stink and send you to the toilet more often than you would like, but that’s pretty much the only harm it will do. Bad breath can be taken care of with a quick mouth rinse, by brushing your teeth or by popping in a stick of gum on the go.
As for the pooping, not much can be done about that. Caffeine stimulates your bowels, telling them to work harder and faster, leading you to spend much longer on the toilet. If you don’t want to deal with diarrhea, then try not drinking coffee on an empty stomach or just after you’ve eaten.
The benefits of one cup far outweigh the minor annoyances that come with it. Your brain will kick into overdrive, helping you focus better and think faster. Drinking a cup before your next workout is also a good idea, as studies have shown that caffeine boosts your muscles and endurance when working out. The stimulated adrenaline in your body will also cause you to experience temporarily sharpened sight, so if you know you’re going to be intensely focused on a screen for hours while you cram for finals, try getting a cup of coffee in beforehand.
In the long run, drinking one or two cups per day can decrease your risk for heart disease, reduce anxiety and lower your risk of dying from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
However, let’s say that one cup simply isn’t enough for you to make it through your second all-nighter this week. Be warned that you are playing a dangerous game if you drink more than four cups of coffee in one day. When you drink that much coffee, you may experience migraines, frequent or uncontrollable urination, anxiety, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat or muscle tremors.
Routinely drinking too much can lead to liver damage, addiction, an increased risk of osteoporosis and stomach ulcers. While the amount of coffee that can cause this type of damage varies per person, the next time you are standing in line at Starbucks for the fourth time in one day, listen to your body and ask yourself if you really need it.