By Kelsey Jochum, BSW, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

If you’re like most adults, savoring your favorite caffeinated beverage is likely an integral part of your morning routine. Especially on a workday morning, you might relate to feeling like your daily cup of coffee or tea gives you that extra jolt of mental alertness or readiness to take on the day or tackle a hefty to-do list. Even on a relaxed weekend or day off, starting the day sitting in the sunshine hands wrapped around a hot cup waiting to be sipped; it’s the image of an idyllic warm-up to the day.

Coffee and tea-drinking are so engrained in most cultures’ routines; the enjoyability and “pick-me-up” of a cup seems to be nearly universal. Caffeine consumption continues to be the topic of decades-long debates and research. While it’s been proven to provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation, there are negative side effects of excessive caffeine that cannot be ignored.

Here are just a few of the potential health benefits and risks of frequent caffeine consumption –

Potential benefits:

  • Boosted energy levels, higher mental alertness, and improved mood
  • Alleviates fatigue and boosts physical performance – making exercise more efficient and enjoyable
  • Increased metabolic rate and decreased appetite – which can help with desired weight loss
  • Improved heart health – one to two cups daily may ward off heart failure and risk of stroke
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and improved long-term memory

Potential risks:

  • Headaches, elevated heartbeat, feeling jittery or restless
  • Diuretic causing urinary frequency, dehydration, and increased incontinence in older adults
  • Disrupted sleep – difficulty falling asleep and frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Heightened irritability or anxiety – excessive caffeine causing anxiety-producing enzyme
  • Habit-forming and risk of mild withdrawal symptoms
  • Interactions with certain medications

If you’re wondering, how much is too much? The FDA has cited 400 milligrams (about 4-5 cups) of coffee or tea per day as an amount not generally associated with adverse side effects for healthy adults – though there is wide variation in how each of us reacts and metabolizes caffeine. For specific questions about individual health conditions, medications, and recommendations specific to you, consider consulting with your trusted health care providers.