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Coffee and Caffeine

It is well-known that coffee contains caffeine, which is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. The caffeine in coffee occurs naturally; it’s not added (it is, however, added to many soft drinks.) Coffee — with its stimulating constituent, caffeine — is the worlds most popular mood-altering substance on the planet, and has been for more than 300 years.

Caffeine promotes wakefulness by interfering with adenosine, a chemical in the body that acts as something of an natural sleep-promoting drug. In addition to its wakeful properties, caffeine — in moderate amounts — has been shown to enhance mood and increase alertness.

Caffeine has been shown to decrease muscle pain and augment the pain-relieving capability of other drugs, alleviate asthma symptoms and boost athletic endurance and performance as well as heightening alertness and lifting mood. Heck, it even helps combat jetlag! The key, of course, is the phrase we seem to hear a lot… moderation.

What’s moderate? Most doctors will agree that 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day can be considered moderate consumption. What’s moderate for you, however, is largely a matter of how you respond to caffeine. If you have questions or concerns about your own consumption of caffeine, talk to your doctor.