Let’s talk about the non-scientific stuff first. I love both, tea and coffee. I have a cup of tea (caffeine-free roiboos) every day in the morning followed by a cold brew done with 100% Robusta coffee bean Sumatra Ascogo roasted at one of Vienna’s best coffee roasters (Kafferösterei Alt Wien). Once a week we have also our Forza Napoli with a high percentage of Robusta at Nicholas Franze’s cafe. Matcha scores also high on our favorites (check out Cha No Ma for gorgeous matcha, if you are in Vienna). But is caffeine ok in a healthy lifestyle? And, most important, how much?
Caffeine: Delicious Drug?
As you may already have noticed, my most common answer is: it depends. Therefore, I will give you some facts to decide on your own if you want to have your daily dose and if yes, at which time of the day it make sense and how much doesn’t cause addiction.
- Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in the central nervous system (your brain) but most of the performance enhancing effects are psychological. You need at least 3mg caffeine/kg to see an increase in high intensity exercise performance. For a 75kg man it means to consume four (!) espresso shots.
- 150mg of caffeine (a double espresso) already increases anxiety.
- Caffeine impairs sleep quality: even after 16 hours a double espresso reduces the time you spend in the deep sleep stage. This is a major disadvantage, as sleep and sleep quality are among the most important factors of recovery!
- At already 100mg caffeine per day (a big shot of espresso) you develop tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Good news: as for the performance enhancing effects, those symptoms are purely psychological (but still not fun at all).
If you want to know more about caffeine, listen to this surpringly funny, yet informative podcast:
Take home message
Try to stay below the 100mg per day by enjoying your coffee or tea mindfully in the morning, as far away from your night time sleep as possible. If you consume more (to be honest, most of the time, I do 😉 ), be aware of the side effects.
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