The Health Benefits of Caffeine

The Health Benefits of Caffeine for the Everyday Athlete

The Health Benefits of Caffeine

You will learn in this post:

– The health benefits and side effects of caffeine consumption 

– Why caffeine consumption could help with sports performance

– Caffeine sources and amounts

– How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

The Health Benefits of Caffeine for the Everyday Athlete

The Health Benefits of Caffeine for the Everyday Athlete

Today I want to talk about the health benefits of caffeine consumption for the everyday athlete.  Many consider caffeine to be one of the most popular and most used drug in the world.  From a cup of joe to a piece of chocolate, caffeine can be found in more than a few of our every day foods.  Before we cover the health benefits of caffeine,  as well as the side effects, reasons to consume, and where caffeine can be found, let’s quickly define caffeine. 


“A bitter alkaloid C8H10N4O2 found especially in coffee, tea, cacao, and kola nuts and used medicinally as a stimulant and diuretic1.”

Health Benefits of Caffeine Consumption

Improved Physical Performance

The most note worthy benefit to consuming caffeine, especially as an everyday athlete, is it’s effect on your overall endurance and stamina.  “Most carefully controlled studies have demonstrated ergogenic effects from caffeine, specially when tested on well-trained athletes performing endurance exercises (lasting more than 1 hour) or high-intensity short-duration exercises lasting about 5 minutes.  However, there does not appear to be an ergogenic effect on performance of sprint-type efforts lasting 90 seconds or less2.”  So yes, you can temporarily enhance your physical performance, stamina, and recovery. 

Improved Mental Performance

As stated in this Harvard Health Publications article, caffeine not only stimulates the brain, but it also helps to keep your excitatory juices flowing by blocking the adenosine receptors which is your body’s natural chemical way of chilling out the brain for sleep and such. So with adenosine out of the way, caffeine can keep that brain fully focused and stimulated to improve your overall mental performance (and possibly even slow age-related mental decline)3

Potential Negative Effects of Caffeine Consumption

As it is with anything in life, too much of a good thing can be bad in some cases…For example, consuming too much water can actually lead to something called water intoxication which can be fatal! AH!  But of course without water, we can only survive a few days at the most. So water is good. But as for caffeine, the potential side effects vary greatly from person to person.  

Possible side effects4:

Insomnia, nervousness, nausea, rapid heart and breathing rates convulsions, and increased urine production.  

Other symptoms may include headache, chest pain, and irregular heart rhythm.

Caffeine Sources5

Caffeine is in more than just your cup of coffee or your mug of tea. The six most common food and beverage items that you will find some caffeine are:

Coffee (8 oz): 80-135 mg

Tea (8 oz): 40-60 mg

Chocolate (1oz dark chocolate): 20 mg

Carbonated soft drinks (12 oz): 0-80 mg

Other beverages with added caffeine (12 oz): 60-135 mg

Pre-workout powers and supplements6 (1 scoop, 6g): 150 mg

How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

The Health Benefits of Caffeine - Coffee - Cold brew coffee

Prep time Total time
Cold brew coffee is smooth and ever so slightly sweet yet still bursting with bold coffee flavor. All you need are your favorite coffee beans, cold water, and 24 hours.
Yield: 7 cups of coffee
1 cup coarsely ground coffee
4 cups cold water + more for diluting
  1. Place coarsely ground coffee into a large container with a spout, preferably glass or ceramic (just not metal) and add cold water. Stir with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula (again, no metal), cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid, and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  2. After 24 hours, fit a fine mesh strainer with some cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter and place it over a measuring cup. Pour your soaked grounds into the strainer. Measure the amount of coffee concentrate you have, and dilute as necessary into a vessel large enough for the amount of cold brew coffee you will wind up with (I suggest starting with a 1:1 ratio of concentrate to additional cold water). Discard grounds. Don’t forget to put this in some sort of bottle or carafe for easy pouring! Store in the refrigerator and use as needed. You may also leave the concentrate as is and dilute per cup.
  3. To serve hot, simply dilute your concentrate with hot or boiling water and keep in a thermal carafe. Again, you may leave concentrate as is and dilute per cup.
  4. Add cream/milk/sugar to your liking and enjoy.

Learn More About The Benefits of Caffeine

Harvard Health Publications: Caffeine and a healthy diet may boost memory, thinking skills; alcohol’s effect uncertain 

 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Caffeine and Adenosine 

You’re a healthy individual, and I know you value your health (keep reading my blog).  But here’s the thing, I have to remind you that these tips are provided for your information and are not intended as medical advice. Please work with your health care professional to determine what’s right for you.  Just remember, eating right (and exercising) starts with you.  
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Cover photo by Fresh April Flours

1. Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
2.  Spriet LL. Caffeine and performance.  Int J Sport Nutr.  1995;5 (Suppl):S84-99.
3. “Caffeine and a Healthy Diet May Boost Memory, Thinking Skills; Alcohol’s Effect Uncertain – Harvard Health Blog.” Harvard Health Blog RSS. N.p., 18 June 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
4. Clark, Micheal, Scott Lucett, and Rodney J. Corn. “Chapter 18/ Section 3.” NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. 516-517. Print.
5. “How Much Caffeine in Drinks — Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks — Caffeine Content.” How Much Caffeine in Drinks — Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks — Caffeine Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.     
6. “Cellucor.” C4 Ripped: Pre Workout without Creatine to Get Shredded –. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.

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