But it has become more than a morning pick-me-up and is now increasingly used to boost fitness and performance.
Athletes are using caffeine supplements and people are even drinking coffee before they head to the gym to help them workout for longer.
Caffeine and fitness
Caffeine is rapidly absorbed by the body and levels remain high for anything up to four hours.
It has a number of effects on the body, such as improving energy, kick-starting your adrenals to help boost performance, burn fat and trigger the part of the brain that activates muscles.
Caffeine can boost athletes’ endurance and enable them to cover a greater distance – and faster.
Other health benefits of coffee
There are a number of benefits to drinking a regular cup of coffee. In fact, some studies have even found that drinking around three cups of coffee a day, could actually cut the chance of developing certain cancers. In fact, research has also found that caffeine could even help protect people from strokes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
But not everyone can tolerate coffee.
Side effects of caffeine
Some people experience negative effects from caffeine, especially those consuming it regularly – and in large quantities.
Taking in over 600mg of caffeine a day can create a raised heartbeat (sometimes desirable) and cause restlessness, irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety. It’s also associated with acid reflux, headaches and can trigger migraines.
Switch to decaf?
Decaffeinated coffee is finally having its moment.
Today, decaf coffee accounts for approximately 12% of total worldwide coffee consumption, and this is expected to increase over the next few years.
Decaffeinated coffee is simply coffee without the caffeine. And while decaf may not offer the same fitness benefits as it’s caffeinated relation, it still provides the same taste. For women who are either pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended that they limit caffeine, which is why decaffeinated is a good alternative to regular coffee.
Decaf may also be a good choice for people who enjoy drinking more than three cups a day, or find they suffer from heartburn, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, severe headaches or irregular heartbeat.
Which to choose?
Whether to drink regular or decaf should be up to your body and how well you tolerate caffeine.
If you're looking to boost your fitness performance and have no pre-existing health problems or sensitivities, then regular coffee shouldn’t cause you any significant problems.
But like with most things in life, the key thing is moderation.