Caffeine and Your Body: What You Need to Know

In case you weren’t already aware and having a meltdown, finals are here. Chances are the only thing keeping you on your toes and plowing through the week is caffeine. We’ve all had those days when we missed our morning cup of coffee and barely made it until noon before stopping at Starbucks to make up for it. Then there are the nights where you anticipated staying up late, so you definitely drank too many cups and now you have the shakes, and you won’t be able to sleep until dawn. Wherever you are on the caffeinated spectrum, here’s what you need to know about what the drug (yes, caffeine is a drug) is doing to your body.

What You Should Love

Caffeine can help you retain what you’re studying.

One study showed that 300 mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent of about a cup and half of coffee, can enhance memory consolidation. In other words, it helps you remember what you’ve learned.

Caffeine can boost your stamina when you exercise.

There’s a reason pre-workout drinks are usually loaded with the stuff. Studies also show that it can even help you enjoy your workout more.

Caffeine may be good for your liver.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a condition that is known to be a major culprit of liver disease, and one study showed that caffeine may reduce your risk.

Caffeine can help prevent some neurodegenerative disorders and even Type 2 Diabetes.

Studies have shown a reduced risk for Parkinson’s Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, and also reduced symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in those who consume caffeine regularly.

Caffeine improves logical reasoning and reaction time during periods of sleep deprivation.

Yet another reason why coffee or tea makes the best study buddy, or why a little coffee before a test is a good idea. This study shows how caffeinated drinks are truly the fuel of college students.

What You Should Look Out For

Caffeine is addictive.

Yes, just about anything can be addictive, but anything caffeinated especially. Those weird headaches and the random jitters you get after not having coffee for a few days are symptoms of withdrawal.What you can do: Don’t drink caffeinated beverages when you don’t need to. Space out your caffeine intake when possible to avoid building up an addiction.

Too much caffeine is bad for your heart.

Your heart is made of a special kind of muscle, and this muscle reacts differently to caffeine than other muscle does.

What you can do: As mentioned before, reduce your intake when you can. You might be guzzling coffee by the gallon during finals, but be sure to give you body a break after words.

Caffeine can cause indigestion.

Ever get a stomach ache or feel bloated and bubbly after drinking too much coffee? This study explains why.

What you can do: This typically occurs on an empty stomach. Make sure you eat breakfast before having your morning cup.

At the end of the day, caffeine does more good than harm, so there’s no need to feel guilty about having a second cup of coffee to help you study the day before a test. Just keep in mind that coffee and tea each have their own benefits in terms of antioxidants, while using soft drinks as a source of caffeine can increase your risk of diabetes. Also, commercial energy drinks have been shown to increase your chances of caffeine intoxication and promote a number of other health risks. So when you’re looking for that energy boost, be sure to stick to your favorite coffee roast or tea blend, drink away and study hard.