Caffeine is good for you. No, really. Even the government says so. After never before issuing an opinion on it, the U.S.’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion gave caffeine the thumbs up in February, stating the benefits of caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks, may outweigh its risks. They recommend staying under the max of 400 mg a day for healthy adults, which seems pretty generous at about four to five cups of coffee or four Red Bulls.
Excitedly sipping our morning cortados and Monster Energy drinks, we sorted through the studies to find out why caffeine is a good guy, and the benefits go way beyond just helping headaches. So, without further ado, here are eight reasons to give your barista an extra fist bump tomorrow morning:
1.) MemoryLet caffeine be your study buddy next time you’re trying to retain some info. A study at John Hopkins University showed that adults who had consumed a 200 mg caffeine pill (about the equivalent of a Starbucks tall coffee) immediately after being shown a series of images were better able to recognize and recall those images 24 hours later than a placebo group. Scientists are still unsure how exactly it positively affects the brain or it’s memory center- the hippocampus- but the important take-away is that it does.
2.) Muscle recoveryWork out and then drink up. Adding some caffeine to your post-workout carbohydrate-rich recovery drink can up your muscle’s glycogen stores, which will aid in faster muscle recovery. The study that furnished these findings tested subjects with a high intake of caffeine – 800 mg a day – about double that recommended limit. This amount might make you want to check with your doctor first, but it’s definitely something to explore. It’s also worth noting that this 800 mg was taken in the form of a pill, so it can be attributed to caffeine directly.
*Note that if you are drinking the recommended chocolate milk after working out, try making it with pure dark chocolate or cacao powder, which naturally contains caffeine. To get a little more of a caffeinated punch, why not throw in a shot of espresso and make it an iced mocha.