Coffee is rich in every culture. You’ll see workers on the sidewalks drinking from their own cups. The same can be said with office workers. It’s commonplace in conversations to hear that a lot of people have coffee running through their veins. This intake is motivated by a lot of reasons, like staying awake or just having something to drink. But if you drink it for any reason at all, rest assured that you’re not alone.
According to the International Coffee Organization, Europe accounted for 33% of global coffee consumption in 2020/21, which is around 3.244 tons. This makes them the largest market in the world for coffee. On top of this, Europe also has one of the highest average annual per capita consumption of it per person at 5 kilograms.
Indeed, Europeans love coffee! But this high demand for it begs the question, how much of it is the “right” amount?
The effects of too much coffee
As flavorful as coffee can be on many occasions, going past your limits can and will be bad for you, both in the short and long-term. While many are in it for the increased alertness, higher doses of caffeine can exaggerate such effects and turn concentration into anxiety.
Similar effects of too much caffeine include higher blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, fatigue, and even insomnia. You can fix these by simply toning down on coffee intake or taking time out to rest. But the long-term ones? Not so much. It’s best to just avoid those outright.
The benefits of just enough coffee
In low to moderate amounts, though, coffee can help you in many ways. The well-known facts are indeed true: it boosts your energy levels, slightly reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, and even helps protect you against some neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.).
To an extent, it can also somehow help decrease body fat and promote weight management, lower risk of depression, heart disease, and other common health problems. If you’ve been considering becoming more physically active recently, your daily coffee could enhance your athletic performance by improving endurance and decreasing perceived exertion.
How much is just right?
The EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends only less than 400 milligrams (or four to five cups) a day for healthy adults that habitually drink coffee, and only 200 milligrams for single doses. According to them, this suggested limit “does not give rise to safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population, except pregnant women.”
Of course, tolerance still won’t be exactly the same for everybody due to factors such as varying genetic makeups. Some people tend to immediately be energized by coffee, while some take some time before experiencing any effects.
There really is no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to intake. But in terms of EFSA recommendations, the limit is around the same for children and adolescents. The only difference is that studies on the effects of caffeine in this age group are still limited.
Health conditions are important considerations as well. Since coffee has such powerful effects on the body, those with medical conditions will likely have lower tolerance to caffeine. Some good examples are those with anxiety or panic disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions.
Signs you need to drink less coffee
If you’re still unaware of your tolerance levels, it’s not a bad idea to find it out for yourself. Just make sure that you’re physically healthy. Otherwise, it would be best to consult your medical provider for advice on your caffeine intake. Assuming that you’re among the former, though, here are some common signs that you have to start drinking less of it.
- Nervousness and irritability
- A faster heartbeat
- Restless or irregular sleep patterns
- Difficulty concentrating during the day or falling asleep at night
Know your drinking limits
Overall, if you’re still keen on being a coffee lover, by all means, go for it! It’s not necessarily a bad habit, and it can immensely help you with tasks on a daily basis. But just like other hobbies, too much of anything is too much, so it should still be taken in moderation.
Thanks for reading! In case you’re just starting off with your journey to becoming a caffeine enthusiast, you might want to check out these coffee capsules that you can use in a pod machine, coffee beans, or ground coffee ready for brewing. You can practically make your own coffee from home using them with the right equipment, and even throw these homemade truffles in as a snack.
If espresso specifically is your coffee of choice, consider reading this article about its health benefits!