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Caffeine does not improve maximal oxygen capacity directly, but could permit athlete to train at a greater power output and/or to train longer. It has also been shown to increase speed and/or power output in simulated race conditions. These effects have been found in activities that last as little as 60 seconds or as long as 2 hours.
There is less information about effects of caffeine on strength; however, recent work suggests no effect on maximal ability, but enhanced endurance or resistance to fatigue. There is no evidence that caffeine ingestion before exercise leads to dehydration, ion imbalance, or any other adverse effects.
What about negative effects of coffee?
Coffee is enjoyed as a drink by millions of people worldwide. It contains caffeine, which is a mild stimulant, and in many people coffee enhances alertness, concentration and performance. Although it contains a wide variety of substances, it is generally accepted that caffeine is responsible for many of coffee's physiological effects. Because caffeine influences central nervous system in a number of ways and because a small number of people may be particularly sensitive to these effects, some people have attributed coffee to all sorts of health problems.
Caffeine is not recognized as a drug of abuse and there is no evidence for caffeine dependence. Some particularly sensitive people may suffer mild symptoms of withdrawal after sudden abstention from coffee drinking. A 150ml cup of instant coffee contains about 60mg caffeine, filtered coffee slightly more; for those who like coffee but are sensitive to caffeine, decaffeinated beverage contains only 3mg per cup.
Coffee drinking can help asthma sufferers by improving ventilatory function.
There is no evidence that coffee drinking is a risk for development of cancer. For several types of cancer there is disagreement between studies but again, other aspects of lifestyle may be implicated. There is even a strong suggestion that coffee may have a protective effect against colon cancer. A possible explanation may lie in many antioxidant substances present in coffee and which are currently subjects of active research.
In some sensitive individuals, ingestion of coffee after a period of abstinence may cause a temporary rise in blood pressure but there is no hypertensive effect in long term. Coffee made by Scandinavian method of boiling or by cafetiere method may cause mild elevation of plasma cholesterol concentration in some people, but instant, filter coffee, and liquid coffee extract have no such effects. Overall there is no influence of coffee drinking on heart disease risk.
There is no sound scientific evidence that modest consumption of coffee has any effects on outcomes of pregnancy or on wellbeing of child. Bone health is not affected by coffee drinking. Adverse effects in some published studies have been attributed to aspects of lifestyle that are often shared by coffee drinkers, such as smoking and inactivity. Coffee drinking can help asthma sufferers by improving ventilatory function.
There is no reason for people who are prone to ulcers to avoid coffee.
Research continues and must be subjected to critical scrutiny and re-evaluation. At present time, there is no reason to forego pleasurable experience of moderate coffee drinking for health reasons
Hilda Maria is the mother of five great children. She understands the need for a great cup of coffee in a flash and enjoys using a coffee maker and fresh green coffee beans to get it.