What is Caffeine? A Basic Guide to Everything you Need to Know

Coffee breakfast

Introduction and Definition

There’s nothing like the aroma of coffee every morning. The smell of this drink has become a global synonym for awakening and the beginning of a productive day. But what makes coffee so wonderful? It is nothing other than caffeine, its main component. Its present in nature and when it is consumed in fair dimensions, it can be highly beneficial for the body.

Caffeine is an alkaloid belonging to the group of methylxanthine. It is a white and crystalline solid type. Although the coffee you usually drink is sweet, caffeine is extremely bitter. However, its properties benefit the central nervous system, in addition to the circulatory system. In addition to coffee, caffeine is present as a natural pesticide in many plants. It is also commonly seen in teas and cacao, as well as in artificial beverages.

Natural State

Although it is very common today to see different artificial drinks with caffeine, there is an undeniable reality. Caffeine is a natural alkaloid, and therefore, it is common to find it in different species in the plant kingdom. One of the most common is its performance as a natural pesticide. When caffeine is present on certain plants, it manages to combat the attack of insects that may impair its growth and viability. However, there is a grain that contains a large amount of caffeine, and to which it owes its name: coffee. Tea is also another great source of caffeine. The different plants with which infusions are prepared to contain even more caffeine than the coffee itself. Also, it is important to note that mate herb, with which mate is made, as well as guarana, contain important amounts of caffeine.

Use in Society

For many, caffeine is the gasoline that the human body needs to recharge its energies and face day to day. The most basic presentation of caffeine is through coffee, which is usually taken at breakfast or after meals, as a tabletop. Having a coffee or a tea is more than drinking a cup of one of these delicious drinks: it is a social gathering to get to know and share with someone you love.

There are also many processed and even artificial drinks that contain caffeine. It is common to find it in soft drinks, energy drinks and even in industrial teas. All of them, but especially coffee, are appreciated for their ability to recover the vitality and the help they provide to get through a long day of work or studies.

Caffeine has another face: its use in cosmetic products, which are applied to the skin. Caffeine creams that are used to treat itching as in dermatitis are common. This proves that caffeine has very valuable properties for all kinds of uses.

Adverse Effects

Despite its multiple benefits, the consumption of caffeine has not stopped being highly controversial. However, its properties are quite clear and therefore, its consumption must be wise. There is a social consensus that determines that children should not consume large amounts of caffeine, and in no case, replace it with a nutritious drink. This is because it can decrease your appetite and affect sleep.

The same situation also applies in adults. Everything in excess is bad, including caffeine. There have been cases of abstinence from a sudden cessation of caffeine consumption. This circumstance can be clearly reflected through symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and especially, drowsiness. Some develop the need to wake up with coffee, and not having it can ensure a bad day.

Positive Effects

But what about the beneficial effects of caffeine? They are, undoubtedly, much greater than the negatives. Many elements of caffeine produce antioxidants that directly benefit the heart, protecting it from different ailments. However, for many, the main advantage of consuming caffeine is the fact that it keeps you active: drinks with caffeine have that property.

The relief of short-term fatigue can be achieved after a cup of coffee or several teas. In addition, caffeine also has diuretic properties, which help the body to prevent fluid retention.

Extraction of Caffeine

Caffeine is a purely natural element, which has subsequently been used for multiple purposes. The vast majority of them are directly related to beverages. But this alkaloid is originally present in coffee beans and cocoa beans. You can also see large quantities of tea leaves, as well as mate and guarana.

Precisely this makes caffeine a global substance. Although coffee is usually grown in South America and Africa, and tea is widespread in Asia, the consumption of both is worldwide. However, the best known is coffee. Generally, Arabica coffee, which is the more common worldwide and of higher quality, it has much less caffeine than Robusta coffee, although there are many specific characteristics according to the type of coffee. About teas, it is important to note that individually the leaves may have more caffeine than the coffee or cocoa beans themselves. However, when diluted in water, the caffeine present in an infusion is much lower and therefore the same symptoms usually do not occur with coffee.

Curious Facts

There are many peculiar things that caffeine has. It is interesting to know that there is no other beverage that has more caffeine than the coffee itself. A cup of coffee will always have less caffeine than an energy drink. But even a small portion of coffee ice cream will have more caffeine than a soft drink. Also, always keep in mind something: a decaffeinated coffee usually has very little caffeine, but it is never free of it.

What human being has not had the happiness of tasting a good cup of coffee according to his preparation and favorite companion? Who has not shared with a cup of tea or mate? All these drinks have something in common: caffeine. This alkaloid is full of properties that benefit the nervous system and the heart, as well as allowing whoever consumes it to be awake and active. Caffeine, consumed in its proper dimension, is a great contribution to the life of the human being.

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