Who doesn’t enjoy a cup of java in the morning to help jump-start their day? With a Starbucks on every block, and recent studies touting the benefits, coffee has never been more on trend.
Yet, while caffeine has been shown to help you think faster and exercise harder, there are some drawbacks. Many don’t consider that caffeine raises blood pressure, triggers anxiety and disturbs sleep. Furthermore, women should know that more than 200 mg a day can lead to a greater risk of miscarriage and worsen breast cysts.
People who regularly consume caffeine tend to have a higher blood pressure rate than those who don’t, and also experience dramatic spikes of blood pressure upon their first cup. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting caffeine to less than 200 mg a day if you’re concerned about your blood pressure, or ask your doctor whether you should give it up all together. If you’re not sure how caffeine affects you, check your blood pressure 30 to 60 minutes after your first cup of coffee. If it increases 5 to 10 points, you may want to consider reducing your intake.
There are 40 million people in the United States that struggle with anxiety disorder, many not realizing that caffeine consumption can lead to another attack. While caffeine isn’t the only catalyst for anxiety, it does cause jitters, a rapid heart rate, upset stomach and muscle tremors that can lead to an attack. The Calm Clinic recommends drinking caffeine moderately, consuming no more than 300 mg a day with no added sugars or creamers, or refrain from it all together if you find it triggers symptoms.
Doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz both agree that having an afternoon cup of java could make it more difficult to sleep. Instead, try to develop what’s called “good sleep hygiene” — no caffeine after lunch, having a soothing bedtime ritual like taking a hot bath or meditating, and making your bedroom a calm, media-free zone (i.e., no TV, no computer, no cell, no anything) — helps many sleep problems.
For women, drinking caffeine can have other unwanted side effects. It can worsen breast tenderness and discomfort for the 30% of women who suffer from fibroids, and studies have shown a link to infertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriages for women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant. However, caffeine isn’t forbidden for women who suffer from fibroids or are pregnant. Experts say that moderate amounts of caffeine do not have a negative effect — anywhere from 150 mg to 300 mg a day.