Most of you will know the feeling: It’s early morning, the alarm clock rings. Still half asleep you drag yourself through to the kitchen. First things first: coffee. For many of us, a coffee in the morning before anything else is a must. Very few people leave the house before having at least one one cup. Coffee wakes us up and prevents tiredness. But why is that? Responsible for this is the ingredient caffeine. What are the effects caffeine has on the body and training performance and which drinks other than coffee contain caffeine? You’ll learn all about it here.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a phytochemical (secondary plant substance), which is found mainly in the beans of the coffee plant, in the leaves of the tea and mate bush and in the guarana plant. Made is caffeine in their leaves through the process of photosynthesis. Caffeine has a naturally bitter taste. This is often hidden in drinks by a lot of sugar.
How does caffeine work?
The effects of caffeine are manifold. Particularly heart and nervous system are stimulated by the stimulating effect of caffeine. In a bad mood? Caffeine is a real mood enhancer with a positive effect on the psyche and spirit. It increases attention, concentration and counteracts fatigue. To a limited extent, it also improves memory span. As caffeine has such positive effects on your mental performance it fights against every energy slump.
And caffeine doesn’t just provide mental benefits, it’s also extremely beneficial for your body. Consuming caffeine in high doses increases the heartbeat, the heart beats faster and stronger – increasing heart rate and blood pressure. The result: we feel fit and energetic.
How does caffeine affect your athletic performance?
Faster, higher, stronger: Caffeine also has advantages in sport. It increases attention and concentration, for example, your reactions. Exhaustion and tiredness are also delayed by the effects of caffeine.
Caffeine can motivate you. It gets your circulation going. Makes you more alert. Attentive and energetic. It can boost your performance. And give you the necessary energy kick you need at a crucial point of your workout.
It’s all about getting the right amount
Prerequisite is always the right amount for you and your body. If you consume caffeine too often, you won’t experience the positive effects. Why? Because your body gets used to the caffeine dose. When you consume caffeine in high doses it can also cause insomnia, nervousness and gastrointestinal complaints. Also your fine motor skills can worsen with too high caffeine intake. Not very beneficial when working with fine manual skills. Even a single cup of coffee can lead a person to experience an increase in their heart rate, while someone else might not feel any effect. The reaction of the body may vary and is different from person to person. But one important point to remember is that caffeine before bed is not a great idea. Try to drink your last cup of coffee or tea after lunch or dinner. Otherwise a good night sleep is unlikely.
Caffeinated beverages – how much do they contain?
Coffee is the most famous caffeinated hot drink. It’s made from the coffee bean and compared to tea and other energy drinks, contains the highest levels of caffeine. The amount of caffeine that coffee contains varies. Types of coffee, the way it’s prepared -ratio of water to coffee and type of processing- are just a few factors. Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino or Latte: The various specialty coffees often contain more milk than coffee. Different flavors provide the extra taste. To enjoy your coffee without calories, drink it with little milk and sugar, or simply enjoy it black. If you can’t give up the sweetness, stevia can be used as an alternative.
In terms of the popularity of caffeinated drinks, tea is at the top. It warms, relaxes and is also a great cold drink in the summer. Green, black or white, in bags or ground powder- tea is available in many different varieties. Depending on the type of tea, the caffeine content differs. Green tea especially contains a lot of caffeine.
The effect of caffeine derived from the tea plant – also called Tein – is much slower than that of caffeine, which is found in coffee, but it lasts longer.
Other ingredients of tea, such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and trace elements can positively affect our health. After a training session tea can contribute to your regeneration and relaxation and quickly bring you back to top form again.
By the way: Not all teas contain caffeine! Only the classic teas, such as black or green tea. Fruit, but also peppermint or chamomile tea contain no caffeine.
Which is your favourite? Coffee? Tea? Or do you have another favourite caffeinated drink you can’t stay away from? We want to know. Leave a comment below.