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When Does Coffee Become Dangerous To Your Health?

Fitday Editor

How many cups of coffee are too many? That is a question that is often in the news. Study after study turns up good and bad news about the world's favorite drink. Some of the scientific claims are extreme, such as coffee's ability to dissolve body fat. Other findings are in wider agreement among scientists and are worth mentioning in greater detail. You can use these notes to help you decide when coffee may become dangerous to your own health.

The Magic Number

Probably the most frequently asked question about coffee is how many cups are too many per day. The answer is that anything beyond three 8-ounce cups of coffee a day is probably not doing you much good. The same reason you reach for a cup of coffee in the morning is the same reason you should think twice about having your fourth cup of coffee late at night. That reason can be summed up in one word: caffeine.

Coffee has a high amount of caffeine, higher than the caffeine content in other popular drinks. For example, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has 100 milligrams of caffeine, whereas a cup of black tea has 40 milligrams, and a cup of green tea has only 20 milligrams.

All in the Caffeine

Caffeine is a substance that behaves as a stimulant in the central nervous system. It gives you that wake-up boost in the morning that gets you moving and out the door. Caffeine goes to work quickly in your body but dissipates quickly, too. And therein lies the problem. Much like drugs, you find that you want more and more coffee to accomplish the same "high" effect of being alert.

Your body develops a tolerance to caffeine when you drink many cups throughout the day. It's easy for you to depend on coffee for jolt after jolt to keep your mind sharp, or so you believe.

When the caffeine wears off, you may feel more tired than ever, more so than if you had never taken coffee at all. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, the roller-coaster effect, along with fatigue, may include headaches, restless irritability and even disorientation.

If you need your eight hours of sleep to function well the next day, be careful not to drink coffee late at night. While coffee won't make you sick, the lack of sleep will lower your resistance to common colds and other illnesses. Caffeine can make you toss and turn.

Special Cases

If you have sudden cramps or diarrhea after drinking a cup of coffee, then it may be wise to cut coffee out of your diet. Researchers say that coffee can irritate a condition called IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Two or more cups of coffee a day could increase the risk of heart disease if you were to have a genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in your body.

If you are concerned abut getting enough nutrients in your diet, then consider limiting your coffee intake. One less cup of coffee may mean one more cup of healthy juice, broth, skim milk or green tea.

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