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Caffeine – ditch it for a winter body boost

27th December 2013

IF you’re having a lie-down in a darkened room you won’t need me to tell you how awful stress can feel. Trouble is, when we’re stressed our bodies are less resistant to infection. So it’s important to keep calm and carry on.

If you drink more than two cups of tea or coffee a day then you might be giving yourself more stimulation than you need.

Caffeine is a stimulant which can increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. In small amounts it’s not damaging but gulp down too much and it could have serious long-term results.

Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means it increases your visits to the loo, and it also causes a rise in blood sugar levels which can be harmful.

Switch to decaff drinks and you might notice quite a difference. You’ll keep warmer too on decaf because caffeine dilates the blood vessels, making you lose heat more readily from your body.

A fascinating clinical trial I read about in Holland showed that switching from regular coffee to decaff produced a real but small fall in blood pressure.

On the plus side, caffeine makes you feel more awake, alert and able to concentrate, although the effects vary from person to person.

Caffeine is absorbed rapidly into your bloodstream but does not accumulate in your body, so any effects are temporary.

It does however increase the effectiveness of painkillers by  up to 40 percent and it is a common ingredient in migraine medications.

Several studies have noted that caffeine may provide protection from Parkinson’s disease, including one published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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