The levels of the stress hormone cortisol is raised when caffeine is ingested in your body. Caffeine can stay in your body for several hours when you drink coffee, tea or other foods that contain caffeine (read How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Your Body).
Although stress is not the only factor that raises cortisol, it is commonly called as such because it's levels are automatically elevated when a person gets stressed. What situations do we encounter that gets us stressed? To name a few:
Hearing tragic news, failing to meet deadlines, a reprimand from your boss, facing an angry customer are some examples of everyday events that can trigger stress. It could help you get through those moments though, as nature has designed it but for short periods only, extending the time of your 'stressed' level can be destructive for your health.
Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and is involved in bodily functions such as inflammatory response, immune functions, regulation of blood pressure and glucose metabolism. It is sort of a survival response to get you through at the moment - your energy, memory, immunity shoots up, But If cortisol stays in the blood for too long
- you'll be prone to sickness
- it will retard your thinking
- your blood pressure could rise
- your blood sugar balance could be disrupted
- your fat in the stomach could increase
- bone density could decrease
- your muscle tissues can weaken
Drinking cup of coffee or tea can leave caffeine in your blood for several hours which means that cortisol levels also rises for the same amount of time that caffeine is in your blood. It would be like having the effects of being stressed for several hours. Not good for your body right?
Among the beneficial effects of tea includes preventing the rise of blood pressure levels and reducing glucose levels but the caffeine contained in tea does just the opposite. Tea has a calming effect but caffeine can heighten your senses because of the rise of cortisol levels.
To get the most benefit of coffee and tea (antioxidants), several cups spread throughout the day would be needed. But then caffeine which raises our cortisol levels will also be in our blood throughout the day. The best way to get those antioxidants from coffee and tea are to choose the decaffeinated or caffeine free variety.
Next time you take a cup of coffee, think of cortisol.
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Caffeine Free Tea: