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Is Caffeine Harmful to Those With Depression?

Did you know that coffee sales increase every year by almost 20%? Studies show that over 50% of the population drinks an average of 3 cups of coffee per day. Most people claim that their mornings are not complete without some form of caffeine to start the day. In fact, coffee is often a daily ritual that helps people carry through the long hours at work.

But what effects can caffeine have on our mental health? While many believe caffeine can help relieve depression, others say it can make depression even worse. So, is caffeine harmful to those with depression? Let’s take a better look.

Positive Effects of Caffeine on Depression

According to medical research, the relationship between caffeine and depression, especially in tea, reveals that caffeine can reduce the symptoms of depression. Some experts even say caffeine may also minimize the incidence of suicide and self-harm.

During a study in China, the results revealed that caffeine-related depression affected less than 1% of individuals involved in the case. The study also shows that the risk of depression decreased when people increased their intake.

Another analysis made up of twelve studies showed that caffeine, particularly in coffee provided sufficient protection against depression. While caffeinated tea was also involved in the survey, the protection as less than the result of coffee intake.

Why might coffee be better at reducing the risk of depression?

The reason why coffee appears to be more efficient is due to its components. Coffee contains ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid. These three acids can reduce nerve cell inflammation that takes place in the brain when suffering from depression. Coffee also contains antioxidant properties and acts as an anti-inflammatory in certain parts of the brain that may be affected by depression.

However, not all sources of tea are less efficient than coffee. In fact, Green tea is high in antioxidant properties and can be just as effective, if not more as coffee. Green tea also contains folate, polyphenols, and theanine – all of which are proven to provide mood-boosting, anti-depressive properties.

Negative Effects of Caffeine on Depression

While there are proven benefits to drinking caffeine, many argue that it can make depression worse. Consuming large amount of caffeine can lead to harmful symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea

These symptoms are related to the “fight or flight” response of the body. It is often triggered by caffeine, which would lead to inflammation and even disease.

While there have been countless studies on the positive effects of caffeine, there are also several studies against it. One study shows that caffeine could worsen depression in those with mood disorders. In fact, the study highlights the heightened anxiety in those who are prone to panic attacks.

To say that caffeine does or does not increase depression is still yet to be completely determined. It is important to also identify the other possible causes of depression such as their daily lifestyle, diet, habits, genetics, etc.

Foods to Avoid

When attempting to fight off the harmful effects of depression, people must also consider their diet. One of the main foods to avoid, especially with depression is refined sugar. High amounts of sugar will give people an immediate rush. Once the rush subsides, individuals will be left with lower mood and energy.

Here’s what else you should avoid.”

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed food
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • High intake of salt
  • Alcohol

When combined with caffeine, a poor diet can lead to nervousness, tremors, and even insomnia.

Foods that Fight Depression

Health experts say that a healthy diet plays a significant role in battling with depression. The Mediterranean diet is expressed as the ideal diet as the diet is proven to be beneficial for heart and brain health. The Mediterranean diet consists of eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. The diet also refrains from high amounts of red meat as well as alcohol in moderation.

Conclusion

While there is no official link between caffeine and depression, those who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine must be cautious of their personal intake. Caffeine can lead to sleep-related issues that also affect the mood. If you regularly drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverages, this can play a toll on your body and cause other unwanted symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, and irritability.

If you have depression, consider limiting your caffeine intake or avoid it altogether. Reducing the symptoms may gradually reduce the harmful effects of caffeine in your body.

DO you suffer from depression? Are you an avid coffee drinker? We’d like to hear from you! Don’t forget to comment below and tell us what you think!

Image source: BusinessInsider.com
Image source: BusinessInsider.com

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