If you are like most people in the world, then the first thing you do in the morning is drink a cup of coffee. In fact, of nearly 3,000 adults interviewed in the United States this year, 64 percent have consumed coffee within the past day. But, have you ever wondered what that jolt of caffeine is doing to your body? Besides perking you up in the morning and giving you a pick-me-up in the evening, caffeine can have some negative effects on your body if you’re overdoing it.
That’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but it’s true. Caffeine has been linked to numerous diseases and health issues. The most surprising effect that caffeine has on your body is that it can severely harm your eyesight. But, is caffeine so awful that you should stop drinking your morning cup of Joe?
Basic Info About Caffeine
We’ve all heard it, caffeine is natural. That means that it’s okay to consume, right? Wrong, caffeine might be natural, but so is gasoline if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty, and you wouldn’t consume gasoline.
You can find caffeine in cocoa beans, coffee beans and even tea. It’s classified as a stimulant. This means that once introduced into your body, it will stimulate your mind and your body, and you give that boost of energy that you long for.
As a stimulant, it’s super effective. Often times, only one cup of strong coffee will wake you up from a dead sleep. However, it also has some adverse side effects if you drink too much. The more caffeine you drink, the more anxious you’ll feel. The more jitters you’ll get, and you might not be able to sleep until it’s out of your system. Despite these effects, many people still drink their morning coffee or tea every day without a second guess.
Caffeine and Your Eyesight
One adverse side effect of caffeine that many people don’t know about is the increased risk of glaucoma. In the first ever study to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S., which was only published six years ago, it was found that people who consume large amounts of caffeine put themselves at a higher risk of losing their vision. This study was huge because it examined nearly 79,000 women and over 41,000 men over the age of 40 who did not have glaucoma and had been getting regular eye checks since the 80s.
Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three cups or more of caffeinated coffee per day were at a higher risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma. The results were interesting in that they linked coffee consumption to exfoliation glaucoma and ruled out other drinks that contained caffeine. This showed researchers that a particular compound that is found in coffee, when mixed with caffeine, can cause glaucoma.
But, new research is always being published and since that study, there’s been evidence that moderate coffee drinking might not have any effects. What’s even more interesting is that other caffeinated drinks, specifically tea, might even lower the risk of developing glaucoma.
However, other caffeinated beverages and food products still can cause you to be super jittery and hyper. They also can cause heart palpitations, blood sugar drops and anxiety. Food and drinks high in sugar can still lead to glaucoma.
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Should You Stop Drinking Coffee?
You’re probably wondering after reading this if you should quit drinking coffee each morning. The short answer is no. Even though caffeine is a drug, and it does have some adverse side effects, it isn’t inherently bad for you. In fact, coffee contains other ingredients that are beneficial to your eyes, like chlorogenic acid. The study discussed above recommended coffee drinkers limit their intake, not rule it out altogether.
One to two cups of coffee a day should give you the jolt that you need to wake up and keep your energy level stable throughout the day. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and consume multiple pots of the liquid gold per day, then you might want to consider cutting back.
Even though eye conditions caused by caffeine intake are seemingly rare, they do occur along with many other health issues. Moderation is key, so it would be best to cut back. But, start slow because you could suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking coffee cold turkey. If you do notice a change in your vision after consuming excessive amounts of coffee, call your doctor.