Things No One Ever Told You About Caffeine
By Jenna Birch
Photo by Women’s Health
Ready for a jolt? According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 80 percent of adults in the United States consume caffeine on a daily basis, and they take in an average of 200 milligrams (the equivalent of two five-ounce cups of coffee) per day. With those numbers in mind, it actually begins to make (some) sense that a recent survey of over 7,000 people found that most of them said they’d prefer coffee over sex. That’s one popular stimulant!
That being said, even though you and all your friends and family members probably consume caffeine on the regular (and may exhibit many of these 16 signs you’re obsessed with coffee), we’re betting that you don’t know much more about the stuff, other than (a) it’s in coffee and certain sodas, and (b) it’s an energy-booster. There’s actually a lot more you need to know about everyone’s favorite legal drug—so here’s a crash course.
Caffeine has a positive impact on short-term and long-term memory. There’s been a lot of past research on caffeine’s effects on short-term memory, but recent studies are indicating benefits for long-term memory, as well. “Around 300 to 400 milligrams per day may protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s,” says Jaclyn London, MS, R.D., a senior dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. There is one caveat, though: “Getting enough sleep is also important in Alzheimer’s prevention, so keep that in mind if you’re caffeine-sensitive.” (Learn 3 more memory-boosting tricks here.)
Caffeine may enhance athletic performance. Taking in some caffeine about an hour before your workout or race may up your game. “We’re seeing statistically significant increases in alertness and decreases in reaction time,” says London. “Also cool, caffeine has been shown to decrease your perception of effort.” In other words, you can put forth more effort for what seems like the same amount of work.